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“The Summer of ’77”

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Some summers are more memorable than others:

It was the summer of Reggie, the summer of Sam, the summer when the lights went dark and the Bronx burned bright.

Thirty years ago, as the temperatures soared and its morale plunged, New York City endured a scathing summer custom-made for tabloid headlines: A crippling July blackout, complete with arson and looting (“24 HOURS OF TERROR”); a media-savvy serial killer dubbed the Son of Sam (“NO ONE IS SAFE”); and a dysfunctional, sensational New York Yankees team (“THE BRONX ZOO”).

There was more: A bitterly contested mayoral race, the lingering threat of fiscal disaster, the perception that crime was turning New York City into Dodge City (albeit with a splashier skyline). The nation’s largest city was becoming a punchline, but those who resisted the urge to flee the five boroughs weren’t laughing.


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