Just City: Growing Up on the Upper West Side When Housing Was a Human Right

Just City: Growing Up on the Upper West Side When Housing Was a Human Right

by Jennifer Baum
Just City: Growing Up on the Upper West Side When Housing Was a Human Right

Just City: Growing Up on the Upper West Side When Housing Was a Human Right

by Jennifer Baum


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Artfully blending the personal with the political alongside a deeply engaging narrative voice, this is the story of how life is improved socially, culturally, economically and spiritually by residing in a subsidized, integrated cooperative. It’s a poignant examination of the housing crisis, and it’s as accessible as it is compelling.

A captivating memoir of New York’s Historic Upper West Side at a time when community and unity defined the neighborhood

Step into the world of Just City and embark on a poignant journey to a time when ideals were woven into the very fabric of a neighborhood. Jennifer Baum’s evocative storytelling brings to life an era in New York City’s history where affordable housing wasn’t just a concept, but a reality that defined the essence of community.

Within the pages of this captivating memoir, you’ll find yourself transported to the historic Upper West Side—a place where diversity flourished and a shared belief in the importance of a home for all bound the residents together. Through personal anecdotes and heartfelt accounts, Baum illuminates her own upbringing alongside the stories of those who shared her neighbor­hood. She describes how as an adult, she came to appreciate that being raised in an integrated collective was a unique and exceptional experience. As she moves around the world for school, a husband, and work, she tells the story of her search for a home that would embody the values and community she grew up with.

Just City goes beyond the physicality of housing; it unveils the emotional tapestry of housing for an entire generation. As you immerse yourself in the stories of rallies, grassroots efforts, and the sense of kinship that defined this era, you’ll witness a generation that stood united for justice and fairness. The book captures not just moments, but the ethos of a time when the city was a testament to the power of community.

Celebrate the legacy of an era when a city was truly a home, when principles of social respon­sibility thrived. Just City isn’t just a memoir—it’s an invitation to revive the spirit of unity and create a city where everyone belongs. So open its pages and let its words rekindle the flame of a just and inclusive city once more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781531506216
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 04/02/2024
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 270,593
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Baum is a filmmaker turned writer. Her writing has been published in New York Daily News, Guernica, Jacobin, The Village Voice, The Phoenix Jewish News, Canadian Jewish Outlook, The Jewish Observer Los Angeles, MUTHA, Hip Mama, and Newfound, which nominated her essay “A Different Set of Rules” for a Pushcart award. Baum teaches composition at Montclair State Universityand occasionally works as a freelance editor, most recently for a series of reports for the World Bank on poverty in Ghana.

Table of Contents

Preface | ix

Introduction | 1

1. Moving into the Just City | 3

2. Community, Collectivism, and Tolerance | 15

3. On the Street | 26

4. Breathing Life into the Sanitized Columbus Avenue Strip | 35

5. Class Consciousness | 46

6. Grappling with Death | 65

7. Salvation in Socialism | 84

8. Two Utopias | 105

9. Gentrification Turns into Revanchism | 118

10. Could I Ever Return to Utopia? | 126

11. No Next Time | 147

12. Relinquishing the Apartment | 163

13. The Crucial Necessity of Affordable Housing | 180

14. Battle over Privatization | 194

Acknowledgments | 215

Notes | 217

Index | 229

Photographs follow page 132

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