The best way to study cities is through their neighborhoods, which offer the local consequences of national and city-wide policies. Gurock, a historian of New York’s districts and a former resident of Parkchester, provides an excellent analysis of this neighborhood, a unique Bronx area that seemed largely to avoid the conflict and collapse of the rest of the borough in the period from 1940 to 2017. This “apartment village” or “city within a city” of fifty-one buildings had its problems over the years, though not on the level of other Bronx communities. The physical structure declined over time; management under Helmsley neglected the buildings; suburbia beckoned, and a shift to condominiums all altered Parkchester. The East Bronx development, however, never reached the disaster that befell the South Bronx.

Gurock uses a variety of research tools to develop his history. Most importantly, his willingness to go back into the neighborhood for...

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