Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back to 1965: North Bay Neighborhood

Today we return to the 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan for its description and evaluation of the last of the residential neighborhoods of Hudson: North Bay Neighborhood. Compared with the glowing review of the High School Neighborhood, the largely positive reviews of the Oakdale and Hospital neighborhoods, and the decidedly mixed review of the South Bay Neighborhood, the plan didn't have anything good to say about the North Bay Neighborhood. The map shows block after block marked with dots, indicating substandard conditions determined to be "critical." 

The only picture in the document representing the North Bay Neighborhood is this one, showing ramshackle buildings in an alley.

A reminder to readers: What follows is quoted directly from a document prepared in 1965, just a year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was adopted and before our sense of political correctness developed to what it is today. This analysis of the North Bay Neighborhood repeats the cause-and-effect interpretation of Hudson's recent history that was noted in this document before. 
North Bay Neighborhood
The North Bay neighborhood contains some of the most serious concentrations of blight in the City of Hudson. The residents are "blue collar" working class people, largely Negro or of Polish or Italian extraction. Their poverty is obvious. This neighborhood contains the former Diamond Street "red light" district, that became a Negro ghetto overnight when Governor Dewey stamped out the illicit trade (85% of Hudson's Negros live in North Bay). The neighborhood is basically residential, with old buildings on small lots, many used for multi-family housing. Approximately nine-tenths of the structures surveyed were entirely residential. Of the rest, approximately half were in mixed residential and non-residential use. A total of 839 housing units were identified. Of these, two-thirds (568) were in substandard condition, 97 were in intermediate condition, and only one-fifth (174 units) were in standard condition. Reflecting the poor housing was the high vacancy ratio (10% of the units were vacant). The housing conditions were the worst in the City: one-half of the substandard housing units in the City were found in the North Bay neighborhood.
Three-quarters of the block units had major concentrations of structural blight. The area west of Front Street and sloping down towards New Street were influenced by some of the worst environmental conditions in the City.
Although a tabulation of community facilities within the North Bay neighborhood discloses three schools (Charles Williams, John L. Edwards and the Fourth Street School) two of which have large playing fields located just south of Dugout Road, the recreational facilities in this neighborhood are inadequate. West of Second Street there are no playgrounds and the only facility for young children is the small paved yard at the Charles Williams School.
The critical blight found in most of the neighborhood east of Second Street identifies this as an area for predominantly clearance and redevelopment.
It's interesting to note that although the Comprehensive Development Plan recommends "clearance and redevelopment" of the area east of Second Street, it was the area west of Second Street that was leveled soon after this plan was prepared. 

If you're curious about the two streets mentioned here, New Road curved from State Street just east of Front Street to the intersection of Second Street and Mill Street. Part of it seems to survive today was the eastern end of Dock Street.

Dugout Road is probably what is now the bike path connecting Mill Street and Harry Howard Avenue, correctly known as the Dugway.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAROLE OSTERINK

2 comments:

  1. Fast forward fifty years and the city has narry a Negro in the North Bay. LWRP; lily white riverfront plan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Speaking on the North Bay, rumor has it that a city dock has been salvaged from the North Bay by tin boat Navigators...

    ReplyDelete