2012 Brendan Gill Lecture

Kenneth T. Jackson

Distinguished historian and noted author Kenneth Jackson shared his insights into the reasons that New York City has avoided the fate of many American cities – their physical, economic and popular decline – by adapting itself to the changes of modern-day life. Professor Jackson began by tracing the growth of New York City from its earliest roots to the 1960s and 70s, when the city went into a tailspin – the crime rate rose, the streets were filthy, the subways unsafe, municipal workers went on strike and the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. During this time, New York lost 700,000 residents, as well as dozens of corporate headquarters and scores of factories.

New York City dramatically reversed this trend and transformed itself into a thriving metropolis. He attributed the renaissance to its density (27,000 people per square mile); the city’s large foreign-born population that brings with it a spirited level of aspiration; a higher level of tolerance to adverse situations; its ability to adapt and revive older neighborhoods to attract businesses and residents; and its desirable suburbs.

About the author

The Bronxville Historical Conservancy was established in 1998 to further the understanding and appreciation of the history and current life of the Village of Bronxville, New York. The Conservancy furthers its mission through the presentation of programs, publications, lectures, and special events that foster an awareness of the Village’s architectural, artistic, and cultural heritage and lends its support for projects designed to strengthen and preserve those legacies.