I moved to New York in 1993 to attend the CUNY Graduate Center just in time to see this same process play out in the transition from the liberal administration of David Dinkins to the neoconservative administration of Rudolph Giuliani. Once again, homeless people were portrayed as the cause of urban blight, and aggressive policing was held out as the solution. This book is an attempt to explain how this dynamic of urban politics emerged in the hopes that a new progressive urban politics will emerge that reestablishes both order and security for urban neighborhoods and restores dignity to those left out of the new global economy.
This book would not have been possible without the support of many friends and colleagues who read drafts, suggested new lines of inquiry, and provided much needed encouragement. I would like to thank Leslie Kauffman, Steven Duncombe, Robert Cherry, and Kelly Moore, each of whom made crucial contributions to the structure of the book and the ideas it contains, though of course any mistakes or omissions are solely my own. I would most like to thank my wife, Elizabeth Palley, who gave up many weekends helping with the preparation of the manuscript and keeping me focused on its completion.
I would also like to give special thanks to research librarians at the New York Public Library’s Research Division, the City Hall Library of New York City, Brooklyn College, and the Jefferson Market and Tompkins Square branches of the New York Public Library. This project involved hundreds of hours of library research utilizing clipping files, archives, microfilmed newspapers, and other sources. These librarians do heroic work in underfunded institutions for low pay and little public recognition.
I received support for this project from the PSC-CUNY Research Fund and the office of the Provost of Brooklyn College. Portions of chapter 6 appeared previously in vol. 15, no. 2, of Policing and Society.