Plenty News March 1979
A process of reversing urban decay has been initiated by a South Bronx community-based organization named the People’s Development Corporation (PDC). These urban pioneers are attempting to restore a sense of community to an area in the heart of the South Bronx. Their vision includes the development through tenant associations and community-based initiatives, of urban parks and gardens, youth centers, primary healthcare programs, nutrition facilities, solar and alternative technology projects.
We partnered with the PDC and they gave us a list of possible buildings to fix and stay in. Their neighborhood nine-block “territory” bordered Boston Avenue, Washington Avenue and 166th to 169th Street. It was a shattered area. One after another, tremendous four to ten story buildings stood abandoned, stripped of their water pipes, copper wiring, and heat ducts. Broken glass from the now empty windows was on the sidewalks, in the streets, covering the stoops and layered on the asphalt-covered playgrounds. The many “insurance fire’ charred buildings had soot running down their sides and, coupled with the emptiness of the windows, they looked like Halloween faces with crying eye mascara. Open spaces that were not parks or playgrounds were filled with rubble and abandoned vehicles. Barrel bonfires were glowing like streetlights and only two or three corner store “outposts” remained open for business. Liquor stores outnumbered the corner stores.