What follows is quoted from the press release about the book received yesterday:
As cities everywhere confront uncertain futures in a post-pandemic era, important lessons can be learned from innovative and committed New Yorkers who, since the end of World War II, have revitalized and returned to prominence many of New York’s iconic landmarks. In her new book It’s A Helluva Town (Bold Type Books, 2020), award-winning journalist and urban critic, lecturer, and author Roberta Brandes Gratz recounts the stories of the transformation of New York’s civic and cultural landscape made possible by the J.M. Kaplan Fund under the leadership of the indomitable preservationist and philanthropist Joan K. Davidson.
Roberta Gratz, who with activist and author Jane Jacobs founded the Center for the Living City, chronicles many of the great urban and rural victories achieved with Kaplan Fund support. As a reporter for the New York Post in the 1970s, she covered many of the battles featured in her book. From the creation of the Westbeth Artists Housing to the birth of the National Resources Defense Council, from the battle to defeat Consolidated Edison’s plan to destroy the Hudson River Valley’s Storm King Mountain to creating the city’s Greenmarket Farmer’s Market and saving Carnegie Hall from destruction, Gratz describes how Joan Davidson strategically raised activist philanthropy to a fine art.
Established in 1945 by Jacob M. Kaplan, the Fund has been a champion of social, civic, and environmental causes since its inception. Over succeeding generations of leadership, it has backed initiatives ranging from historic preservation, saving parks, enhancing libraries, advocating for youth criminal justice reform, and protecting global marine resources. In 2015 the J.M.K. Innovation Prize was launched to support talented social entrepreneurs across the United States in the fields of environment, social justice, and heritage conservation. . . .