Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More on the neighborhood

Day two of training today. Not much new to report on that front, beyond getting to know more people on my team. They claim diversity, but I ran into two other graduates of my high school. Take that, City Year!

I did get the chance to explore some more of Hunts Point. When you exit the Hunts Point Avenue subway top, the first thing you notice is the Bruckner Expressway looming overhead. It was the first time I had been underneath an interstate up close, and it's easy to see how Robert Moses' style of urban planning can decimate a neighborhood. The noise, the smells, and the simple sight of an interstate dominate the neighborhood, and property values have suffered for it.

On one side of the expressway is a shopping area featuring the usual chains (we got lunch at Subway on our first day). On the other side is the neighborhood proper. Like I said yesterday, the area I've explored so far is not a terribly rough-looking place. Lots of attractive brownstones, and a good amount of activity on the streets. We took a walk from the main community center to a rec center a few blocks away. This building is obviously new, with many well-groomed athletic fields. Naturally, we used these for more getting-to-know-you activities, including one that confirmed that my visual memory is still lacking. That's another story, though.

My favorite part so far is definitely getting to know all the different sorts of people that made their way to CYNY. There's a girl here who came from Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha! I mean, I can understand why she wanted to leave but that's a long trip.

The actual activities today were mostly boring. Lots of talk about rules and regulations. I think I'll post an abbreviated glossary of City Year Speak one of these days.


  1. With all the restrictions on your behavior that you described yesterday, I am surprised that you are allowed to blog. Thanks for doing CYNY, and for your blog.

  2. Do you mean for your blog to be on PDT? Above comment posted at 10:51 p.m. your time.

  3. Good catch, thanks! And unlike Obama, no anti-blogging policy was mentioned.

  4. Robert Moses was a public works megalomaniac whose work, while possesing some strong attributes, would never be characterized as senstive to community, diversity, or the environment. To say this was not 'in vogue" in the 50's-70's when the work was done is a total dodge. I've often wondered, for example, how much thought was given before the Cross Bronx Expressway created an immense wound through the south Bronx, or why Riverside Park stops at 125th on the west side and 96th on the east side. The Bruckner is yet another example. One can only wonder what Moses, today, would do with the World Trade Center site, the Atlantic Yards project, or the proposed Jets stadium by the Javits Center. Too often, in the hubris and money around big construction, we forget to find the equipoise reflecting that these works go on in and around peoples homes, lives, and communities.