Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-5

Table of Contents

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pp. 6-7

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Introduction

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pp. 1-21

IN 1961, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner announced a major renewal initiative for the city’s infamous skid row. Based on research conducted by social scientists, Operation Bowery...

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1: The Challenge of the Depression

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pp. 22-59

DURING the 1920s, Urbain Ledoux opened “the Tub” on St. Mark’s Place on the Lower East Side. Known as “Mr. Zero,” the businessman turned philanthropist offered meals and lodging to New York’s homeless men. A Buddhist, Ledoux felt called...

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2: A New Deal for the Homeless

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pp. 60-87

IN an April 1932 campaign speech, Democratic presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his commitment to projects “that build from the bottom up...

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3: Skid Row in an Era of Plenty

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pp. 88-115

DURING the early 1950s, author and activist Michael Harrington lived near the Bowery as a member of the Catholic Worker, the group founded by Dorothy Day...

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4: Urban Renewal and the Challenge of Homelessness

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pp. 116-137

BY the late 1950s, America’s skid rows were sparsely populated slum districts. Surveying the Bowery, the New York City Planning Commission observed “a mixture of old tenements, commercial...

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5: Operation Bowery and Social Scientific Inquiry

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pp. 138-178

THE interviewer seated in the lobby of the Bowery’s Uncle Sam Hotel with a homeless man who was lodging there, proceeded to ask a series of questions. “Subject six,” he learned...

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6: The End of the Skid-Row Era

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pp. 179-209

IN his memoir of New York City homelessness, Lee Stringer described with biting irony the surprise of a professional coming across a cluster of homeless people sleeping...

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Conclusion: Whither the Homeless

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pp. 210-222

IN 1956, as the Hart Island rehabilitation facility was being closed, New York City Chief Magistrate John Murtagh, in front of whom vagrants appeared for sentencing, warned...

Notes

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pp. 223-268

Index

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pp. 269-274

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 275-276

I am indebted to many sources of financial, intellectual, and personal support that enabled me to write this book. A Larry J. Hackman Research Residency Award facilitated a trip to the...