Vintage Photograph of a Neglected Block in Brownsville, Brooklyn Back in 1969

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Dec. 18, 1969: A neglected block in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where a nationwide Model Cities program — which aimed to bring a holistic improvement regimen to selected neighborhoods in 52 cities — was seen as stumbling. “Half of the program’s first year is gone,” The Times reported, “but only $7.7 million of the year’s allocation of $29 million in Federal funds have been spent.” The mayor blamed a heavy-footed city bureaucracy. “The mood is typified by Prospect Place in Brownsville, flanked by desolate acres of rubble-strewn lots,” the story read. “Rotted tenements have been torn down, but almost nothing is being built because contractors’ bids have come in above the per-room cost ceilings permitted by Congress for Federal projects.”

Photo: Lively Morgue