Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011


This article posits that the destruction of the South Bronx during the 1960s and 1970s was municipally approved across several mayoral administrations, most notably the term of John Lindsay who coined the catch phrase “Fun City,” referring to New York City on the first day of a transit strike. The author outlines several books and articles that detail the destruction caused by fires and city planning decisions that adversely affected White ethnic and neighborhoods of color in the South Bronx. Media portrayals during this period were used to stereotype certain areas of the Bronx which in turn allowed city planners to advocate for their destruction. During this period there was a massive out-migration of Bronxites adding to the urban swirl. In the end the people who live in these maligned areas are ultimately blamed for the destruction of their neighborhoods even though the City of New York and its consultants made decisions that allowed it to happen. The role of the RAND corporation and Fire Commissioner John O’Hagan figure prominently in this narrative.


This work was originally published in Touchstone.



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