Monday, February 18, 2008

Richmond Terrace Apartments - the present

So here's the other building shown in the postcards posting. If the Prospect Gables have seen better days, then this place REALLY has seen better days.

It sits at the foot of York Avenue and Richmond Terrace. I'd wager that the postcard was created back when the Jersey Street area was still a thriving working class commercial strip for the surrounding homes on Westervelt and York. There was at least one synagogue, a Polish Catholic church and all manner of shops. There was a public school, PS 17, and supermarkets.

When I was a boy the area was already on the way down. The A&P closed and many of the old tenements were abandoned and sank into ruin. In the later 70's the school burned down (though there was already another school nearby). The Richmond Terrace Public Houses had gone from being a diverse working class bastion to a place where the hardworking tenants were force to live cheek by jowl with individuals of the least reputable sort.

Now the area has achieved a stasis. In the early 80's I watched several blocks of old building be torn down and replaced with little attached homes. The commercial strip of Jersey Street between Pauw Street and Castleton Avenue struggles on. Working class families have reclaimed many of the older homes on the streets branching off Jersey and there's been a stabilizing effect on the whole neighborhood. Despite all that, the Jersey Street environs are still a marginal place with more crime than much of the rest fo the Island and general shabbiness that never seems to go away.

Later criminals began preying on the neighborhood and

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