Stretching to Understand Renegade Urban Fireworks

This piece by Marika Plater is the first entrant into the Fourth Annual UHA/The Metropole Graduate Student Blogging Contest. We invited graduate students to “write about a moment in urban history when the inflexible was asked to bend,” and in this essay Plater asks readers to stretch their interpretation of the fireworks that seemed ubiquitous […]

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Member of the Week: LaShawn Harris

LaShawn Harris Associate Professor of History Michigan State University Describe your current research. What about it drew your interest?  My current research project focuses on the policing of New York’s Black women during the 1980s, a period widely remembered for urban decay, economic instability, political conservativism, crime, racial violence, and new cultural music and art forms. […]

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Stymieing the People: A Review of Design for the Crowd: Patriotism and Protest in Union Square

By Thai Jones Merwood-Salisbury, Joanna. Design for the Crowd: Patriotism and Protest in Union Square. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019. Union Square today displays an extraordinary mania for subdivision. Its ten acres have been hardscaped by fencing and concrete into a multitude of distinct levels and impermeable zones. On the surface, these choices appear […]

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The Pandemic to End All Pandemics?: WWI, the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, and Urban America

In a recent fivethirtyeight podcast, political scientist Dan Chen noted that in China the population largely distrusts local authorities’ response to the COVID19 pandemic, while placing faith in the large central government. Host Galen Druke then noted that in the United States, at least over the past few months, the reverse is true: support for […]

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Political Broken Promises: Self-Serving Officials and Unrealistic Expectations in the History of the NYC Subway

By Philip Mark Plotch New York City’s subway system, once the best in the world, is now frequently unreliable, uncomfortable, and overcrowded (at least when the city is not experiencing a pandemic). One of the reasons for its sorry state is a series of uninformed and self-serving elected officials who have fostered false expectations about […]

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Member of the Week: George Aumoithe

George Aumoithe Princeton University Department of History and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies Describe your current research. What about it drew your interest?  My current research delves into the post-1970s history of federal, state, and local efforts to cut general in-patient beds in the United States, particularly in public facilities commonly referred to […]

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Book Review: Boston on Sam Stein’s Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State

Samuel Stein. Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State. Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2019. By Amanda Boston The process of exclusionary development we know as “gentrification”—and the working-class communities and cultures it displaces—has preoccupied urban residents and other stakeholders for decades. Scholars have explored transformation of the process from a scattered residential phenomenon into a […]

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Paying for Socialism: Uncovering Immigrant Voices in Municipal Elections on New York’s Lower East Side

By Natalie Behrends On Wednesday, November 4th, 1914, Henry Goldfogle was triumphant. It was the day after the election, and the seven-term Democratic Congressman from Manhattan’s Twelfth District had just received the results: a smashing victory of 4,944 votes to his Republican opponent’s 1,133. The three-month campaign season leading up to the election had been […]

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The Metropole Bookshelf: Kara Schlichting on her new book, New York Recentered: Building the Metropolis from the Shore

The Metropole Bookshelf is an opportunity for authors of forthcoming or recently published books to let the UHA community know about their new work in the field. Kara M. Schlichting. New York Recentered: Building the Metropolis from the Shore. University of Chicago Press, 2019. By Kara M. Schlichting New York Recentered offers a new model […]

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Art, history, and urban contestation: a review of Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani’s Contested City

Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2018). Reviewed by Barry Goldberg In 1965, the New York City Board of Estimate, an eight-member body that once had authority over the city’s budget and land-use matters, but has since […]

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