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Ladies And Gentlemen The Bronx Is Burning

The Blackout Of July 13 1977

Howard Cosell’s “The Bronx is Burning” Comments During 1977 World Series

Its not easy to make one of the worlds largest cities go dark, requiring a potent mix of circumstance and bad decisions:

  • A lengthy heatwave, pushing temperatures over 100, while tempers and demands on the power grid climbed right along with it.

  • Clean-air regulations pushed power plans well outside the city limits.

  • A tenuous feeder system bringing power into the city from those plants with too few lines and little redundancy.

  • Some lightning, taking out feeder lines.

  • Poorly maintained emergency generators.

  • A board operator who froze, failing to disconnect subsections of the city, which would have reduced the overall power draw into the city grid and prevented total failure.

The result was disastrous: the entire city went dark. Every borough.

Mass looting and fires followed in certain areas, particularly in the South Bronx and a subsection of Brooklyn called Bushwick.

As a result, an area of poverty and high unemployment destroyed itselfcreating worse poverty and unemployment. Seven years later, the area was still rebuilding, as detailed in this 1984 New York Times article:

Bushwicks slow recovery was a microcosm of the entire citys resurgence.

In 1977, New York seemed to be on the brink of collapse. And while many people thought New York was in its death throes, it was really going through birthing pains.

Just another example that it truly is darkestpitch black, evenbefore the dawn.

Ladies And Gentlemen The Bronx Is Burning

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City

9781429931038

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City is a book by Jonathan Mahler that focuses on the year 1977 in New York City. First published in 2005, it’s described as ‘a layered account’, ‘kaleidoscopic’, ‘a braided narrative’, which weaves political, cultural, and sporting threads into one narrative. It was also the basis for the ESPN mini-series The Bronx Is Burning.

Publishers Weekly31 De Jan De 2005

The strange life of New York City in 1977 is recounted in this kaleidoscopic history. Arguing broadly that that year can be read as “a transformative moment for the city, a time of decay but of regeneration as well,” Mahler, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, constructs a fast-moving, multilayered narrative that puts the city itself in the starring role. While the argument is not wholly persuasive, Mahler smartly chooses a time frame overflowing with drama: the seemingly endless hunt for the serial murderer “Son of Sam” the citywide blackout in mid-July that led to devastating arson and looting the opening of Studio 54 and the disco craze the bitter mayoral derby featuring the incumbent, Abe Beame, Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo, and the eventual victor, Ed Koch and the Yankees’ first World Series victory in 15 years, despite the collective histrionics of owner George Steinbrenner, manager Billy Martin and outfielder Reggie Jackson. In many ways, this book is a fascinating prelude to Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Mahler points to “a new era” after 1977 of idealized capitalism and the subservience of the public good to private interests . Mahler, like Wolfe, understands how characters ranging from a dispossessed arsonist to the titans of business, sports and politics can come to represent an entire city in its madness, its depravity and its glory. B& w photos.

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Ladies And Gentlemen The Bronx Is Burning: 1977 Baseball Politics And The Battle For The Soul Of The City

The behavior of fans and the actions of athletes within the not-always-friendly confines of stadiums have been, throughout the ages, excellent barometers of a societys morale and morality. In the Jewish tradition, ancient rabbis knew well that Greco-Roman sports venues were seats for scorners frequented by those who played fast and loose with the faiths teachings. During the Middle Ages, attendance at jousting tournaments was restricted to Christian lords and ladies, a reflection of that epochs closed and stratified societies. Throughout the 20th century, Olympic athletes often were standard bearers of their countrys exalted and aggressive national pride. In recent decades, the destructive antics of rowdy British soccer fans who have marauded through bleachers and pens have reflected the pent-up frustrations of working class toughs who resent their status. For Jonathan Mahler, the turmoil in the clubhouse and on the playing field of Yankee Stadium in 1977 provides the place and space for a journalists keen look into the urban crisis that peaked in New York City during that memorable season.

‘ladies And Gentlemen The Bronx Is Burning’: That 70’s Show

Howard Cosell Quotes
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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BRONX IS BURNING 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City. By Jonathan Mahler. Illustrated. 356 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $25.

After a fire broke out in a school near Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series, Howard Cosell seemed to capture far more than a passing news story when he said on the air, “There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning” — at once encapsulating the era and giving Mahler his eventual title. The book is peopled with rich characters and strange, striking juxtapositions. In the Bronx, doing battle with one another and, occasionally, with opposing teams, there are Martin, George Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson. In politics, Bella Abzug, Abe Beame, Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo go to war for the mayor’s office, though one wonders why anyone would have wanted the job. Still at large, wielding a .44 Magnum, the serial killer Son of Sam writes a letter to Jimmy Breslin of The Daily News: “Hello from the gutters of N.Y.C. which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine and blood.” But you did not have to be a murderer who believed “a father figure named Sam” had told you to shoot people to detect signs of a fraying civic life in New York in 1977.

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The 1977 New York City Democratic Mayoral Primary

Amidst crime and financial disaster, four candidates, including Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, Bella Abzug and incumbent mayor Abraham Beame, squared off in a bloody Democratic primary full of sniping, back-biting, and backroom deals.

But as vicious as the race was, Im struck by the tone and content of Kochs TV commercials.

Koch was seen as the most confrontational candidate, but these ads are so vanilla they would be ignored today:

Amazingly, Koch won the democratic primary running against the teachers and police unions, and taking a pro-death penalty stance. He sounds very conservative in these ads, which ran during the primary where he was trying to capture only left-leaning voters.

Koch went on to be mayor New York until the end of 1989.

Publishers Weeklyjan 31 2005

The strange life of New York City in 1977 is recounted in this kaleidoscopic history. Arguing broadly that that year can be read as “a transformative moment for the city, a time of decay but of regeneration as well,” Mahler, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, constructs a fast-moving, multilayered narrative that puts the city itself in the starring role. While the argument is not wholly persuasive, Mahler smartly chooses a time frame overflowing with drama: the seemingly endless hunt for the serial murderer “Son of Sam” the citywide blackout in mid-July that led to devastating arson and looting the opening of Studio 54 and the disco craze the bitter mayoral derby featuring the incumbent, Abe Beame, Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo, and the eventual victor, Ed Koch and the Yankees’ first World Series victory in 15 years, despite the collective histrionics of owner George Steinbrenner, manager Billy Martin and outfielder Reggie Jackson. In many ways, this book is a fascinating prelude to Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Mahler points to “a new era” after 1977 of idealized capitalism and the subservience of the public good to private interests . Mahler, like Wolfe, understands how characters ranging from a dispossessed arsonist to the titans of business, sports and politics can come to represent an entire city in its madness, its depravity and its glory. B& w photos.

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Fiscal And Spiritual Crisis

The book begins by telling of the fiscal and spiritual crisis, as Jonathan Mahler calls it, of the city in the mid-1970s. In political cartoons, New York had become a sinking ship, a zoo where the apes were employed as zookeepers, a naughty puppy swatted by a rolled-up newspaper. New York’s finances were in need of attention. Less than halfway through Abraham Beame‘s term as mayor, the city was “careering toward bankruptcy.” And perhaps there were signs that the ‘cultural axis’ had tilted. In 1972, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson had moved from Midtown Manhattan to Burbank, Californiaâthe cultural equivalent of the Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angelesâand Carson would stick the boot in by sprinkling his monologues with reminders of the city’s decline. “Some Martians landed in Central Park today … and were mugged.”

Farrar Straus And Giroux

The Bronx Is Burning – 1 – The Straw
1946 76 years ago
Founder
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux is an American book publishing company, founded in 1946 by and . FSG is known for publishing literary books, and its authors have won numerous awards, including , , and . As of 2016 the publisher is a division of , whose parent company is the German publishing conglomerate .

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Origins Of The Phrase

Part of the phrase surfaced in television media in 1972 as the title of an episode from the Man Alive documentary series co-produced by BBC Television and Time-Life Films. Entitled The Bronx Is Burning, the hour-long episode shadowed Engine Company 82 and Ladder Company 31 as they operated throughout the Bronx, chronicling the impact of austerity upon fire safety services in the borough.

It was five years later in this same borough that Game 2 of the 1977 World Series was played on October 12 at Yankee Stadium. ABC cameras covering the game cut to a helicopter shot of the surrounding neighborhood where a large fire was shown raging out of control in Public School 3, a building occupying the block bordered by Melrose and Courtlandt Avenues and 157th and 158th Streets. The following exchange occurred between ABC announcers Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell:

Jackson: “That is a live picture, obviously a major fire in a large building in the south Bronx region of New York City. That’s a live picture, and obviously the fire department in the Bronx have there, a problem. My goodness, that’s a huge blaze.”Cosell: “That’s the very area where President Carter trod just a few days ago.”

About nine minutes later, viewers were again being shown the scene of the fire from the helicopter’s camera:

Jonathan Mahler Farrar Straus & Giroux $25 Isbn 978

The strange life of New York City in 1977 is recounted in this kaleidoscopic history. Arguing broadly that that year can be read as “a transformative moment for the city, a time of decay but of regeneration as well,” Mahler, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine , constructs a fast-moving, multilayered narrative that puts the city itself in the starring role. While the argument is not wholly persuasive, Mahler smartly chooses a time frame overflowing with drama: the seemingly endless hunt for the serial murderer “Son of Sam” the citywide blackout in mid-July that led to devastating arson and looting the opening of Studio 54 and the disco craze the bitter mayoral derby featuring the incumbent, Abe Beame, Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo, and the eventual victor, Ed Koch and the Yankees’ first World Series victory in 15 years, despite the collective histrionics of owner George Steinbrenner, manager Billy Martin and outfielder Reggie Jackson. In many ways, this book is a fascinating prelude to Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Mahler points to “a new era” after 1977 of idealized capitalism and the subservience of the public good to private interests . Mahler, like Wolfe, understands how characters ranging from a dispossessed arsonist to the titans of business, sports and politics can come to represent an entire cityin its madness, its depravity and its glory. B& w photos. Agent, Sarah Chalfant.

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Ladies And Gentlemen The Bronx Is Burning: 1977 Baseball Politics And The Battle For The Soul Of A City

Picador 2005

This is a book about things that happened in New York City during the year 1977. Think about it. If you were going to write such a book about a year in your hometown, or any city, what would your principle of selection be? Or to put it another way, through which lens or lenses would you present the years events?

Jonathan Mahler chose three lenses in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning: the season that Reggie Jackson came to the Yankees, the Mayoral race, and devastating race riots that erupted after an electrical blackout. Why those three? Presumably because as his subtitle indicates they provide the best insight into what was really going on in New York that year. It wasnt just those three topics, after all: 1977 also saw the search for the serial killer Son of Sam, Rupert Murdochs foray into American journalism with his purchase of The New York Post, and the opening of Studio 54 and the disco era. In which direction was New York going to go? Would it be a Yeats moment: Things fall apart the center cannot hold /mere anarchy is loosed upon the world? Or would the Yankees become winners again, would a successful mayor repair the Citys disastrous finances, and would racism, inequality, and injustice begin to be addressed?

This is a compelling read.

Highly recommended.

George Vs Billy Vs Reggie

The Bronx is Burning

In 1977, Billy Martin was in the first of his four runs as Yankees manager, and many days it looked like he wouldnt keep his job for the entire season. Martin, as mercurial as any manager who ever led a team, was sandwiched between his combustable and jealous owner, George Steinbrenner, and his preening and insecure superstarwho was new to townReggie Jackson.

Together, the three of them barked at each other in the press and in person, and schemed behind each others backs.

Famously, Martin and Jackson nearly came to blows in the Boston dugout after Martin pulled Jackson mid-inning following a Jackson flub in right field:

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Ladies And Gentleman The Bronx Is Burning

Credit Jonathan Mahler for re-creating New York Citys annus horribilis/mirabilis, 1977, in an expansion of his New York Times Magazine cover stories on that years long, hot summer called Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning. But first, you have to wade through a series of biographical digressions researched and rendered in the manner of a term paper. Because Mahler was an 8-year-old Californian in 1977, he relies on other sources, leaving us New Yorkers there at the time free to carp over the mistakes and misconceptions . Some of the accounts, especially of the blackout and subsequent looting of Bushwick, are riveting, but he ultimately fails to make the case that Reggie Jackson saved the city by leading the Yankees to a World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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