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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

June 15, 2004
Press contact: Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176


City Photographer Larry Racioppo Chronicles Housing Agency's Work

The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) exhibit of photography at the Municipal Art Society (MAS), titled "Keeping the Faith: Restoring Hope, Rebuilding Neighborhoods," will be on display through July 13, 2004. It documents the devastation and abandonment that occurred in many low-income communities in New York City in the late 1970s and 1980s and chronicles the work that HPD undertook to restore buildings and revitalize communities.

In 1986, the City took the unprecedented step to commit municipal resources towards the renovation and reconstruction of the dilapidated housing stock. Since then, HPD has provided over $5.6 billion dollars to support the repair, rehabilitation and new construction of over 212,000 homes and apartments. Working together with tenants, community organizations, financial institutions and many public and private partners, building-by-building and block-by-block, communities across the City have been transformed.

Today, the vacant and boarded-up buildings that were once blight on many of the City's neighborhoods have been transformed into safe, affordable homes. Once-abandoned lots now contain new townhouses and parks. Economic opportunities, cultural diversity, and rising homeownership rates are occurring Citywide. 90% of the buildings directly managed by the City have been renovated and transferred to responsible private ownership. Soon, rehabilitation work will be completed for the rest of the inventory that the City acquired through tax foreclosure.

Over the last 15 years, City photographer Larry Racioppo has chronicled this transformation. His photographs tell the stories of deteriorated buildings that were rebuilt with City financial assistance, the City workers who salvaged them, and the tenants who struggled to create decent living conditions for themselves and their families. Racioppo joined HPD in 1989 and began producing dramatic "before and after" pictures of the buildings that the City acquired.

The Municipal Art Society is located at 457 Madison Avenue at 50th Street, Manhattan. The exhibit will be open from Monday to Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is closed Thursdays and Sundays.

The Municipal Art Society is offering two walking tours related to the exhibit:

Transformation in the South Bronx. In the 1970s, many landlords in the Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx abandoned their properties due to their economic decline. By 1990, HPD owned over 300 buildings with almost 6,000 apartments. This tour, lead by Ted Weinstein, former Director of Bronx Planning and now Director of Property Planning for HPD, highlights the successful transformation of derelict buildings along the Boston Road corridor into affordable homes and apartments. Meet at the N.E. corner of East 163 St. and 3rd Ave. in the Bronx. (Subway: #2 or #5 to 149th/The Hub. Take the bus up 3rd Avenue to 163rd Street). Sunday, June 27, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Harlem Reinvented. By the 1980s, Harlem building owners were abandoning their buildings and HPD became the community's largest landlord. This walking tour showcases the second Harlem renaissance. With creative programs and unique public/private partnerships, HPD is transforming the derelict buildings and garbage-strewn vacant lots along Madison Avenue, Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Morningside Drive and in the Mt. Morris Park Historic District into homes and apartments for both owners and renters. Harlem resident Ibo Balton, former Director of Manhattan Planning and now Director of Project Planning and Review for HPD, leads this tour. Meet at the NE corner of 116th St. and Madison Ave. Sunday, June 27, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Reservations for the walking tours are not required. Fees are payable on site at the beginning of each tour. For further information, call the MAS at (212) 439-1049.

HPD's mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The Bloomberg administration's $3 billion housing plan will finance the creation or preservation of more than 65,000 homes and apartments in New York City neighborhoods over the next five years. For more information about affordable housing, call the City's Citizen Service Center at 311 or log on to

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