Listen: WNYC Radio on the 75th Anniversary of Roosevelt, New Jersey

 

Here’s a nice radio piece on the history of Roosevelt, NJ, one of 99 New Deal resettlement towns. Roosevelt, which turns 75 this year, was unique as an experiment in community planning (it was one of three Greenbelt towns) featuring Bauhaus architecture. It was the only New Deal town that was a cultural and social haven for immigrant Jews from Eastern Europe (who arrived via Brooklyn and Philadelphia). Initially envisioned as a cooperative community, residents took on collective management of the town, its garment factory, store, and farm. The experiments in collective management did not endure, but their history is still evident in the fabric of the tiny town, which also became a center for artists. This radio profile offers a sense of both the lingering mythic history and the realities of life in suburban New Jersey (although it’s economic analysis of the New Deal more broadly is incomplete). We’ll have a first person report soon on the town and its 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Rachel Brahinsky is the Living New Deal's managing director and postdoctoral fellow.

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