"Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is burning" (1974, 1977)

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Tue Aug 23 17:32:32 UTC 2005

BRONX IS BURNING--9,710 Google hits, 11 Google Groups hits

"Ladies and Gentleman, the Bronx is burning" is the title of a recent book. It's from a Fred Shapiro-worthy quote by the late Howard Cosell during the World Series.
However, "Bronx is burning" was a New York Times editorial and a BBC documentary, both in 1974. "Bronx is burning" was old when Howard Cosell said it in October 1977. Just telling it like it is.
Amazon.com: Books: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning ... Amazon.com: Books: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler.
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ tg/detail/-/0374175284?v=glance - 96k - Aug 22, 2005 - Cached - Similar pages
Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning :
1977, baseball, politics, and the battle for the soul of a city /
Jonathan Mahler
2005 1st ed.
English  Book x, 356 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ; ISBN: 0374175284 (hardcover : alk. paper)
The Bronx is burning.
British Broadcasting Corporation.; Time-Life Films.
English  Visual Material : Motion picture :  Film 1 reel, 52 min. : sd., col. ; 16 mm. & discussion guide.
New York : Time-Life Multimedia,
Documents the daily activities of Engine Company 82 of the South Bronx, drawing attention to the dangers these men face every day. Includes interviews with firemen who explain what their job means to them.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's Speech on Affordable Housing in New York City
The Enterprise Foundation's 2004 Network Conference at the Marriott Marquis

October 14, 2004

Good afternoon.
I want to thank Shaun Donovan for that kind introduction.
He's not only an eloquent speaker; he's also a highly effective City Commissioner, who is doing an extraordinary job directing New York's affordable housing policy.
Now, to all of you who are here from out of town.
Welcome to New York.
Take it from the mayor: There's never a bad time to visit our city. But there really is something special about "autumn in New York."
For a lot of New Yorkers - me included - October means championship baseball in the Bronx.
Last night, the Yankees continued to battle the Red Sox for the American League pennant -
writing one more chapter in the greatest rivalry in professional sports.
But those of us who are of a certain age can remember another October ballgame in the Bronx that wasn't so glorious.
It was during the 1977 World Series.
It was a night game, and Howard Cosell was in the broadcast booth.
And speaking to a national audience, he directed the television cameras away from the action on the field, and toward a building being consumed by fire just a few blocks from the stadium.
"Ladies and gentlemen, he said, "The Bronx is burning."
It was a bleak picture in a disheartening time, because the harsh truth was that whole blocks in the South Bronx, and in other communities in our city, were being vandalized, abandoned,
and even going up in flames.
1.South Bronx Is Burning
By James P. Brown. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 24, 1974. p. 19 (1 page)


2.TV: CBS on C.I.A., and BBC'S 'Bronx Is Burning'
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 13, 1975. p. 75 (1 page)

3.The 'old neighborhood' is burning
Donald Kirk. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file). Chicago, Ill.: Jun 15, 1975. p. 20 (1 page)

4.Television This Week; OF SPECIAL INTEREST
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 15, 1975. p. D25 (2 pages)

New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 16, 1975. p. 53 (1 page)

6.Letters to the Editor
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 20, 1975. p. 34 (1 page) :
Why the South Bronx Is Burning.


New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 25, 1975. p. 87 (1 page)

8.Highlights; SUNDAY June 29
The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Jun 29, 1975. p. 171 (1 page)

9.Other 46 -- No Title
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Aug 10, 1975. p. O5 (4 pages)

10.The sickness of the city; The Year The Big Apple Went Bust The Big Apple
By PETE HAMILL. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 20, 1976. p. 188 (2 pages)

11.Highlignts; THURSDAY September 2
The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Aug 29, 1976. p. 183 (1 page)

12.TV Highlights; TV Movies TV Movies
The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Sep 2, 1976. p. C15 (1 page)


13.Other 83 -- No Title
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Jul 31, 1977. p. L22 (2 pages)

14.Other 77 -- No Title
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Jul 31, 1977. p. L6 (1 page)


15.Other 7 -- No Title
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Aug 6, 1977. p. B2 (1 page)

Book Review Desk; SECT7
That 70's Show
By Jon Meacham
1,443 words
24 April 2005
The New York Times
Late Edition - Final
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.

1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle
for the Soul of a City.
By Jonathan Mahler.
Illustrated. 356 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $25.
One summer afternoon in 1957 at Yankee Stadium, batting practice was under way, and Billy Martin felt horrible. Disconsolate and probably hung over, only recently traded from his beloved Yankees to the Kansas City Athletics, Martin had returned to New York for the first time since losing his pinstripes, and was about to take the field against his pals (and old drinking buddies) Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford. The Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman, was in the stands, and asked for a word with Martin, the scrappy second baseman. As Jonathan Mahler tells the story in his entertaining and illuminating new book, ''Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning,'' Spellman asked Martin how he liked Kansas City. ''Oh, just fine, Your Eminence,'' Martin answered. The more Martin thought about the prelate's kindly question, though, the gloomier he got. ''How do I like it in Kansas City?'' Martin mused once he was back on the field. ''I wanted to ask him, 'How would you like it in Kansas City?' '' New York was the thing; nothing else would do. Two decades later, in 1977, Martin was back in a Yankee uniform as the team's manager, standing in the spikes of Casey Stengel. ''Life is a very serious thing,'' Martin said, ''and baseball has been my life. What else has my life been? That's why, when I lose a ballgame, I can't eat. Sometimes I can hardly sleep. If you're in love with the game, you can't turn it on and off like a light. It's something that runs so deep it takes you over.''
Martin might as well have been talking about New York itself. E. B. White called the city the ''capital of everything,'' and New Yorkers would not argue with him. The dramas particular to New York, a place of extremes, are more often of universal interest than, well, Kansas City's. It should not be surprising then that Mahler, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, believed a layered account of a single year in the life of the city, 1977, could sustain a book -- nor should it be surprising that he was right. In the long sweep of American history, of course, 1977 is not exactly 1865, 1941, 1968 or 2001. Yet from porn shops to gay bathhouses, from Yankee Stadium to City Hall, from the blackout to Son of Sam, from Rupert Murdoch's New York Post to the rise of SoHo and Studio 54, the city was living through what Mahler convincingly calls ''a transformative moment . . . a time of decay but of rehabilitation as well.''
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.
Mahler marshals his evidence well. Crime had hit historic highs. Between 1973 and 1976 New York lost 340,000 jobs, and ''pornographic institutions'' grew from 9 in 1965 to 245 by 1977. When the power failed during a record heat wave in July, the blackout looting was epic and depressing; in the Bronx, a priest who went out to reassure his neighborhood came back to find his altar had been stolen. Christianity Today saw divine judgment in the power failure: ''The lack of electricity lit up the reality of people's minds and hearts. That's what people are like when separated from light and the light.''
Murdoch's Post, meanwhile, the paper he bought from Dorothy Schiff, was shaking the city up with paparazzi and Page Six. Once a grand liberal institution, in March 1977 The Post ran 21 items on Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Its blaring headline for the blackout looting: ''24 Hours of Terror.'' The wise men of the establishment hated the sensationalism; they thought it bad for business. ''So your New York Post has now covered New York City's first big crisis since you took over,'' a chagrined Osborn Elliott, the former editor of Newsweek who was serving as deputy mayor for economic development, wrote Murdoch. ''Are you proud of what your headlines produced?''
Still, for all the strife in the streets, a good time was had by many. ''Now is the summer of our discotheques,'' Anthony Haden-Guest wrote in New York magazine in June 1977. ''And every night is party night.'' Studio 54 took off; so did Plato's Retreat, the popular swingers' club. The first reported cases of the AIDS virus came in 1978, Mahler writes, which means 1977 ''was the last great year of unprotected, nonreproductive sex in the city.'' Worlds collided once when Abzug stopped off at the Continental Baths, which Mahler describes as a ''bathhouse/cabaret/disco.'' Shocked at what she saw, she called to scream at her campaign manager, crying: ''What the hell have you gotten me into? There are hundreds of guys up here wearing nothing but towels held together by Bella buttons!''
BY using the Yankees as a central metaphor for the city's fortunes, Mahler is able to draw a nuanced portrait of this wild year. Baseball, like life, is at heart a prolonged test, a journey requiring skill, luck, patience and the capacity to lose dozens of games and still emerge as a winner. Like the city, the Yankees were roiled by internal woes but gave the world outsize personalities; like the city, they had dark moments yet endured, and, in six games in October against the Dodgers, prevailed, winning the World Series despite dugout jealousies, conflicts, crises and resentments. Martin -- Howard Cosell called him a ''beleaguered little pepperpot'' -- fought for respect as Jackson grew into one of baseball's first great independent superstars. Running on Scotch and self-doubt, Martin got the team to the Series in constant fear of his job (such was Steinbrenner's deft ownerly touch even then), but could not quiet his demons.
The future belonged not to Martin, who was a terrific manager but a terrified human being, fearful, his own worst enemy (though Steinbrenner ran a close second in that race). The New York being born in the heat of 1977 would instead be shaped, at least in the popular imagination, by men who did a better job of mastering their insecurities and channeling them into self-assertion. The ''emerging titans,'' as Mahler calls them, were Koch, who defeated Cuomo in the mayoral campaign, Jackson, Steinbrenner and Murdoch. ''They were flawed, farsighted, self-made men who intuitively understood the city's desire for drama and conflict because they shared it,'' Mahler writes. Down the years other figures would come to fit in this template of the transformative, men like Giuliani, Trump, Bloomberg. New York would see worse days than it did in 1977 -- indeed, on a brilliant blue September morning four years ago, the very worst of days -- but the city has always successfully made its way through what George Eliot once called the world's ''dim lights and tangled circumstance.'' In the wake of Reggie Jackson's legendary performance in Game 6 of the 1977 Series -- three home runs in three swings -- The New York Post asked, ''Who dares to call New York a lost cause?'' Who, indeed? Occasionally chaotic, yes; sometimes cruel; but never truly, finally, irretrievably lost.

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