A Phoenix From the Ashes

Today is the 30th anniversary of President Jimmy Carter's historic visit to the South Bronx, in the same year that Howard Cosell famously declared, "Ladies and Gentleman, the Bronx is burning."

By the time of Carter's visit to Charlotte Street arson, crime, a lack of city services and abandonment and neglect by landlords had reduced much of the area to a near desert of abandoned buildings, vacant lots, and piles of broken rubble. Part of the street had even been taken off the City map. Read More...

The story of Charlotte street is a model of succesful housing redevelopment. According to the New York Times, "Today, Charlotte Street feels not so much like the southern Bronx but Long Island. Now primarily a mix of Asian, African-American and Latino families, it is a sleepy three-blocks lined with clean sidewalks and white-painted wrought iron fences. There are worn welcome mats at the front doors and pink flamingo and chipmunk ornaments in the yards." Over many years neighborhood activists and clergy, community development groups and local, state and federal officials used public subsidies, city-donated land and tax abatements to rebuild this and other areas of the South Bronx. Today, houses on the street are worth $500,000.

Click here to read the full article. Whether the South Bronx has truly outgrown its reputation for crime and lawlessness is hotly debated topic among observers of gentrification. Here is a long and heated argument in a discussion forum about the Mott Haven, Hunts Point, and Port Morris areas.