The Old Neighborhood
What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration, 1966-1999
By Ray Suarez
(Free Press, Hardcover, 9780684834023, 272pp.)
Publication Date: May 1999
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This life in "the old neighborhood," so lyrically captured by Ray Suarez, was once lived by a huge number of Americans. One in seven of us can directly connect our lineage through just one city, Brooklyn. In 1950, except for Los Angeles, the top ten American cities were all in the Northeast or Midwest, and all had populations over 800,000. Since then, especially since the mid-60s, a way of life has simply vanished.
Ray Suarez, veteran interviewer and host of NPR's "Talk of the Nation(R)," is a child of Brooklyn who has long been fascinated with the stories behind the largest of our once-great cities. He has talked to longtime residents, recent arrivals, and recent departures; community organizers, priests, cops, and politicians; and scholars who have studied neighborhoods, demographic trends, and social networks. The result is a rich tapestry of voices and history. "The Old Neighborhood" captures a crucial chapter in the experience of postwar America. It is a book not just for first- and second-generation Americans, but for anyone who remembers the prewar cities or wonders how we could have gotten to where we are. It is a book about "old neighborhoods" that were once cherished, and are now lost.
Ray Suarez is the longtime host of NPR's "Talk of the Nation®," heard on more than 120 radio stations around the country. His career in journalism has included time on radio and television, and in magazines, and has taken him to postings in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Rome. He currently lives and works in Washington, D.C.