Good morning, all. I have spent a good portion of the morning putting together this week’s presentations for our class on the life, times, and legacy of Robert Moses. I have learned a tremendous amount already this year. I thought I would share this incredible image I intend to show tomorrow in class. This is a so-called Hooverville in Central Park during the Great Depression. These squatter camps were ubiquitous across the United States and were so named in derisive “tribute” to President Herbert Hoover, who Americans unfairly blamed for the onset of the financial crisis.
I am often taken aback looking at old photographs of such cities as New York, London and Paris and seeing how dirty and chaotic they were not so very long ago. Yes, this was the era of the Great Depression and a Hooverville to boot; still, the early twentieth century cities were not the gleaming metroplises we know today. When I moved to New York City twenty-two years ago in 1997 the Bowery still had the last of its flop houses. Today those are gone and in their place are boutiques selling expensive retail goods.