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Bronx New York: Urban Decay
The Bronx, New York, in 1982.

This site showcases the way things were and does not fall for the fallacy that the good old days were always good. It is important to show the good with the bad.

While other articles on this site have showcased New York in its heyday during the Gilded Age, when the city was brimming with enthusiasm and hope, this one focuses on the urban blight that was so apparent during the gritty 1980s.

Although New York during that era remained culturally vibrant and on the cutting edge of art and fashion, and was still the financial center of the United States, it was also a crime infested city beset by enormous social problems. Entire neighborhoods had succumbed to urban decay that made them look apocalyptic wastelands.

In this video the viewer is taken on a tour of the Bronx in 1982, a neighborhood that would make a good set for the filming of a zombie apocalypse or nuclear holocaust movie. What few buildings remain standing are burnt out shells amidst fields of rubble and garbage.

When Jimmy Carter visited this neighborhood in 1982 he called it the worst neighborhood in America. It is sad to watch these scenes and realize that people lived here, and even sadder to remember what this neighborhood had been like before urban blight and decay destroyed it. These ruins stand as a reminder and a warning that social and economic policies matter, that the decisions that politicians and civic leaders make have real consequences and that poor decisions lead to disaster.

Abandoned Building in New York
Abandoned Building, New York.

The Bronx has experienced a revival since then and is no longer the apocalyptic wasteland depicted in this video. However there are many more neighborhoods in the United States such as Detroit that have also reached the same nadir of urban blight and decay. Let us hope that they too will rise from the ashes one day.



I am the main archivist and collector of vintage photographs that you see on this site. It is my pleasure to explore the old days with you and bring the past back to life through the photos and images of the 1800s and 1900s.