Authors: Roberta Brandes Gratz
Tags: #History, #United States, #20th Century
Table of Contents
ALSO BY ROBERTA BRANDES GRATZ
The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way
Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown
A Frog, A Wooden House, A Stream and A Trail:
Ten Years of Community Revitalization in Central Europe
Never underestimate the power of a city to regenerate.
I have always relied on various urban thinkers and observers to inform and challenge my own observations and ideas. For this book, I am similarly indebted to a wonderfully patient and generous group who enriched the substance of this book.
Until her death, Jane Jacobs was a critical sounding board. Ron Shiffman and Richard Rabinowitz have been key in both of my earlier books as well as this one. Mary Rowe has both challenged and encouraged the details of this book in the best tradition of Jane Jacobs. Anthony Mancini has been my first reader and essential critic for this, as well as the two prior books, often saving me from myself. Thomas Schwarz, another reader of both prior works, challenged an early iteration of this one that helped me rethink its direction. Victor Navasky, as well, offered insights at an early point that clarified and changed the direction I needed to follow.
Nancy Milford, Nancy Charney, Laurie Beckelman, Stephen Goldsmith, Sandra Morris, and Margie Ziedler have been nurturing friends critical to the writing process. I am indebted to Robert Caro for opening my eyes and the world’s eyes to the overarching power of Robert Moses.
I am enormously appreciative of Hamilton Fish, president of Nation Books, for being so ready and eager to publish this book and for turning me over to an extraordinary editor, Carl Bromley. Carl exemplifies the best qualities of an interested, caring, insightful, and nurturing editor whose comments and observations about all aspects of this text were most useful and constructive. I am similarly indebted to Basic Books publisher John Sherer for understanding what I planned to do and for being so interested in publishing this book. Annette Wenda, the copyeditor, Sandra Beris, the production editor, and Brent Wilcox, the compositor, artfully steered this manuscript to life.
Kent Barwick, Eddie Bautista, Marcy Benstock, Mary Beth Betts, Maya Borgenicht, John Bowles, Al Butzel, Joan Byron, Sarah Carroll, Majora Carter, Carol Clark, Joan Davidson, Mort Downey, Coco Eisman, Alexi Torres Flemming, Adam Friedman, Charles Gandee, Michael Gerrard, Francis Golden, Dennis Grubb, Bill Gratz, Isabel Hill, Abbie Hurlbutt, Lynda Kaplan, Jared Knowles, Lex Lalli, Peter Laurence, Corey Mintz, Norman Mintz, Forrest Myers, William Moody, Greg O’Connell, Marianne Percival, Bruce Rosen, Michael Rosen, David Rosencrans, Gene Russianoff, Don Rypkema, James Sanders, David Sweeny, Calvin Trillin, Joshua Velez, Mike Wallace, Anthony Wood, Elizabeth Yampierre. Others are mentioned throughout the book.
Sadly, my husband, Donald Stephen Gratz, did not live to see this publication. His ideas and influence, however, are woven throughout this text. I learned from him daily for many years and always appreciated his encouragement of my efforts. The legacy of his talent is reflected herein in the story of Gratz Industries.
My daughters—Laura Beth and Rebecca Susan—fabulous mothers, teachers, environmentalists, and preservationists—have always been most important in my life and now their children—Halina, Frank, Stella, Isaac, and Danielle—are a source of great pride and joy. I have no doubt they will all grow to be caring, productive citizens. My son-in-law, Jon Piasecki, an innovative landscape architect and committed environmentalist, is an additional source of pride.
Many people have let me know the value of my first two books and, I hope, they will find similar value here. They are the ones who will initiate the regeneration process wherever they live and work.
I was born and for the first decade of my life lived in Greenwich Village, the iconic urban neighborhood of crooked streets, historic buildings, diverse residents, and the occasional leafy, cobblestone street.