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WPA at work in the Bronx 1936:|
Castle Hill Avenue at 177th Street; Photo: NYPL
The New Deal's programs were on everyone's minds in the late 1930s. So many people we knew had the misfortune to be out of work and on, what was then called, home relief. For a father to have a job with the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, repaving the many streets or building new projects in The Bronx, was a stroke of good luck. With a steady income he could provide clothes and food for his family, and further, had the dignity of saying that he worked for what he got. Indeed those few years before the onset of the Second World War, The Bronx seemed to be in a frenzy of construction...
A frenzy of construction indeed! In the Bronx we are surrounded by New Deal projects without even knowing it. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal designed, constructed, and/or paid for a great many Bronx landmarks including bridges, highways, courthouses, post offices, public schools, fire houses, swimming pools, parks, playgrounds, countless murals, sculptures, maps, surveys, renovations, and infrastructure improvements all over the Bronx, including in the Botanical Garden and Zoo, not to mention an ongoing schedule of public concerts, dances, plays, puppet shows, swimming lessons, and contests. Also see: