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Air pollution monitoring in New York City after years of urban development

  • Years of development on Black New Rochelle communities may be associated with higher rates of respiratory disease.
  • Now, New York is studying air quality there, and in nearly a dozen other regions across the state.
  • The project is one of several spending measures intended to benefit communities disadvantaged by the effects of pollution and climate change.

As a child, Stephanie Barty would bathe in a tin tub outside her parents’ two-story home on Cedar Street. The 65-year-old recalls that in the centuries-old historic Black Pugsley Hollow neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York, not all streets were paved in the 1960s. But everyone knows each other.

Soon, much larger streets were being paved over Pugsley Hollow, along with other black communities in New Rochelle. Highways, auto dealerships, and wide boulevards carved the suburban city into what it is now.

The eminent domain forced hundreds of families out of their homes, devastating areas that were known as enclaves of a thriving middle class for Harlemites moving to the suburbs. Many of them were confined to flats between these large developments. The Bartys ended up in public housing.

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