We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The subject is Real Estate in the New York Times, and the treatment of it in this article is architecture. This short filmette from the article is well done, but (more below)
that was my high school, the largest in the country. The NYT misses the more important backstory.
Winners of the most Westinghouse and National Merit Scholarships were from Erasmus Hall High School. (My favorite alumnus was Moe Howard.) With changing demographics and theories of education, the city has shut it down as unmanageable. The building on the corner was a Yeshiva in my time. The grade school (P.S.6 for public school #6, in NYC parlance) sits on what was a parking lot in my time, for people who flocked to the then excellent shopping, now mostly gone and replaced with Carribbean shops, and three palace like movie theaters on Flatbush Avenue, now shuttered. What's now called the Flatbush Town Hall, built in 1875, was a police station, and we knew all the beat cops who looked out for us. Down the block on Church Avenue was Holy Cross, church and school, now closed. If you look in the upper right corner of the shot above you'll see the steeple of the Dutch Reform Church, built in 1654.
In my time, one out of every seven families in the US traced its family to Brooklyn, a major settling spot from the 1600s to 1900s for immigrants who went on to build America. The bones that made Flatbush, at the heart of Brooklyn, famous are still there. The spirit and lifeblood isn't.
"At Erasmus Hall High School, we used to harmonize. Me, Benny, and Ira, and two Italian guys. We were singing Oldies, but they were Newies then. And today when I play my old 45's I remember when.........." (Looking for an Echo)
The arch at the Flatbush Ave entrance was great for street sound chamber harmonizing. Each song would get practiced for weeks or months. Gloria, Duke of Earl, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, In The Still Of The Night,.....
I still have a large collection of old 45s, going back to Blue Suede Shoes.
You ask: "Would the Italian, Irish, and Jewish waves have gone as far, as fast, if they had to deal with the criminal chaos and infrastructure decay/stagnation that these new immigrants must face?"
While we of the earlier immigrant groups had our gangs, poverty, etc., we didn't create the "criminal chaos and infrastructure decay/stagnation that these new immigrants must face." They did, along with their welfare, etc. usage that consumes resources, and their lesser emphasis on education and respect for advancement moralities, abetted by liberal politicians pandering to them.
Yes, that's certainly not all, indeed I bet a minority, but failing to deal with them within the group, and failing to confront them from without, allows them to pull all down.
I worked in Bedford-Stuyvesant for years, including through two riots in the '60s, and saw this same effects.
BTW, a relative-in-law, liberal, was a principal of Erasmus during the neighborhood's transformation years, and got a rude awakening to realities.
Bruce my friend ... Your essay and comments remind me of a series of funny and charming essays by Leonard Q. Ross -- "The Education of H*y*m*a*n K*a*p*l*a*n" which appeared in The New Yorker back during the 1950s, IIRC. Hyman Kaplan was an immigrant who came to this country during the 1940s or 1950s and set about assimilating into our wonderful country as fast as possible. Unlike many of today's immigrants, he signed up for night courses in English and the essays describe vividly how immigrants like Kaplan passionately wanted to be American and partake of the American Dream.
How differently today's immigrants behave. The last time I renewed my driver's license, we had to stand in a long line of folks trying to get [and succeeding] driver's licenses here in Texas, many of them having to bring along interpreters because they didn't speak English. That's really scary when you think about it. If one of those cars should collide with ours, and the driver couldn't speak English, how would we communicate? Neither of us speaks Spanish. I suspect the driver would turn tail and drive away as fast as he could. So much for diversity, which is almost as bad as political correctness.