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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at https://www.planetizen.com/user/63 and http://www.cnu.org/blog/194

I’ve always thought that the Chanukah song Mi Y’Malel (Who Can Retell) begged to be adapted for NYC.  This song asks “Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?  In every age a hero or sage came to our aid.”  

Similarly, New York has been saved by “heroes or sages” more than once over the past few decades- the 1950s/1960s rebellion against expressways in Manhattan comes to mind, as does the reduction in crime in recent decades (maybe also the returns to fiscal solvency under LaGuardia and Koch?).   So here’s my first stab at a NYC version:

 

Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid
Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid

 

In the 50s Robert Moses tried to turn the city into one big road

 

Jane Jacobs did his plans explode

 

Saved Washington Square and then her writing taught us all

 

That cities aren’t just for cars

 

 Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid
Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid

 

 

 

In the 90s the city was bursting with crime

 

Rudy stopped it by deciding it was time

 

To put more cops all over the land

 

And turned Times Square into Disneyland

 

 Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid
Who can retell the things that befell us, who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid

 

In the 2000s the city was not so frayed

 

But we were ready to go from good to great

 

Bloomberg built what in other cities is rare

Pedestrian plazas and bike share 

I’m sure someone else could actually make this good.

 

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