- Years of development over Black New Rochelle communities may be connected to higher rates of respiratory illnesses.
- Now, New York is studying air quality there, and in nearly a dozen other areas across the state.
- The project is one of several spending measures meant to benefit communities disadvantaged by the effects of pollution and climate change.
As a child, Stephanie Bartee bathed in a tin basin outside of her parents’ two-story home on Cedar Street. In their historically Black Pugsley Hollow neighborhood in New Rochelle, New York, that dated back centuries, not all of the streets were paved in the 1960s, the 65-year-old recalled. But everyone knew each other.
Much bigger streets soon paved over Pugsley Hollow, along with other Black communities in New Rochelle. Freeways, car dealers and wide thoroughfares carved the suburban city into what it is now.
Eminent domain forced hundreds of families out, razing areas that were known as thriving middle-class enclaves for Harlemites moving to the suburbs. Many were confined to apartments between these large developments. Bartee’s family ended up in public housing.