Between 1976 and 1982, South Bronx native and photographer Mel Rosenthal chronicled a neighborhood very different from what it is today. During that period, the South Bronx was burning to the ground—literally. But contrary to popular belief at the time, it wasn’t arson destroying the neighborhood; it was calculated neglect by the city.
The seeds of this treatment of the South Bronx were planted in a 1970 memo sent by Daniel Patrick Moynihan to President Richard Nixon. In it, Moynihan, who was Counselor to the President for Urban Affairs at the time, wrote: