Archive for the Spotlight Category

Spotlight On: New York City’s Financial Crisis

Posted in Spotlight with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2010 by Erin

When King Ploobis was groveling over Gorch being on the brink of default, the writers weren’t pulling a random idea out of thin air. When Saturday Night Live debuted in October of 1975, New York City was seriously on the brink of default.

“There is no other business I can think of where the proprietor knows absolutely that he will face bankruptcy every year,” John Lindsay wrote in 1970. Following the Second World War, New York City had a boom period which enabled the creation of a lot of social programs and projects. Among these creations was a public university which guaranteed all New York City high school graduates automatic admission, and free tuition. In addition, many bridges and expressways were built during this period, including the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (aka “The BQE”), the Staten Island Expressway, and the Cross-Bronx Expressway.

The construction of the latter may have led to the City’s eventual downfall. In the 1960s, middle class families began to move out of the city and into the suburbs, and factories were pulling out of the city as well. At the same time, minorities with agraian backgrounds were coming into the city for better economic opportunities, and the jobs available in the city didn’t line up with their skills. As the city entered the 1970s, one in eight people living in New York City was on welfare.

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