Arson --how it works

Submitted by lmcshane on Tue, 11/23/2010 - 09:43.

For folks with any memory left at all....a reminder from Tremont Memory project.  An interview with Father Bodziony (emphasis added):

GL: Had the Valley View homes been built when you moved to the
neighborhood?
RB: Those were built in what, about 1936. They were built, and a Monsignor
made a study that they were better off knocking down these old homes and getting rid of
them for economic reasons and building projects.
That was one of the first projects built.
That, and the one off Twenty-Fifth Street, above Washington Avenue. And the ones on
Fifty-Fifth Street. The one in Tremont was the first one built, I think. That’s where some
of the homes came from also, a few of the homes, when they were building the projects;
they moved the homes out of there. When I came there, those projects were beautiful. We
had doctors, and a lot of the interns lived there from Metro. When I came there it was real
nice. We had a good number of parishioners living there. The all of the sudden they
changed, they started letting anybody into them. They became a problem for a while.
GL: Was there a turning point?
RB: It was all this stuff about, integration or something. They wanted to help
people get ahead or something. I don’t know. All of the sudden, you know, it just
changed, the whole complex changed. I remember I used to go and visit some of those
people for Communion on first Fridays, and there were a number of ladies that lived in
those apartments at that time. They were very nice, and they still are nice apartments
basically, if you go inside, they’re modern built apartments inside. Just that,
unfortunately, so of those that live in them don’t take care of them.
GL: You mentioned that homes burnt down in the area…
RB: Oh yes, all the time. One guy went to jail. You probably heard about him,
Nader, Joe Nader. He owned a number of the properties right across from the church.
They finally got him because he tried to insure one home twice, by two insurance
companies, but they didn’t go for that. When it burned down, he tried to collect on both.
Then he had another one, he owned property across from Lutheran Hospital and he tried
to bribe an inspector. He was inspecting the place or something. I don’t know if he’s out
of jail or not, but he owned over a hundred properties at that time. There was something
11
fishy. I don’t think the guy could afford it, he was from Lebanon. All the homes were in
the general area. He owned homes in other places too. I don’t know, it was funny,
whether he was a sort of front man for somebody that bought the property. What they
would do, whether he did it, what was going on was, you’d buy the property for $10,000,
sell it to your brother-in-law for $15,000, buy it back for $20,000, then it burned down
and you got twice the money you pay’d for it. So there was some of that going on.
People
are still doing those things.

( categories: )

Firebug

  I see him on the bus--an 11 year old boy--covered in soot.  His hands are deep in his pockets.  There is no mistaking the smell on him.  Smoke. 

I know him, and see that he has been crying,  but if I ask him what he was doing, I know he will hiss at me.  We ride in silence.

 

Spidertown

Required Reading:

Spidertown : a novel

 

Author: Publisher: Edition/Format:   Summary:
Abraham Rodriguez
New York : Hyperion, ©1993.
  Book : Fiction : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Peer-reviewed
Miguel is riding high on the streets of the Bronx in his Baby, a souped-up dream-mobile purchased for him by the man, Spider: mentor, friend, and crack kingpin. Miguel is just a runner, not a dealer; he thinks he can keep his life as an independent operator with just one foot in the door of a world where teenagers run million-dollar empires. With his crashpad roommate Firebug, arsonist extraordinaire, Miguel tries to fit lifetimes of partying, casual sex, and high times into a few short years. It is only when he falls deeply in love with the beautiful and practical-minded Cristalena that the shallowness and imminent danger of this world come crashing home to him.