Stuart Rudnick was born in 1951. His family had moved up from the Lower East Side to the Sedgwick Projects in the West Bronx. They lived there until 1968, when they moved to Co-op City because the demographics of the neighborhood were changing and they wanted more space. It was seen as a step up. When Rudnick was growing up there, he remembers it as very safe and no one locked their doors. There were many kids in the building to play games outside in the street, games that did not require buying a lot like stickball. The project is remembered as predominantly white, but the neighborhood had more Black and Hispanic people, though people seemed to get along. As he got older, that relative harmony seemed to lessen and they avoided being in the surrounding neighborhoods, though Rudnick explains he does not understand why white flight happened, as it had always been mixed racially.
Rudnick’s father was a truck driver and his mother stayed at home with the children, with neither graduating from high school. He attended Bronx High School of Science, which he found challenging, in part because he did not have help from his parents with homework at the time. Rudnick does not believe that students today have the same level of education in the Bronx, especially because, although he also came from a blue collar family, there are much higher rates of single parent families and that makes it much harder.
His family was non-religious. Rudnick attended City College and remembers the anti-Vietman War riots there. He moved out of the Bronx to Yonkers with his wife in the late 1970’s, hoping to have more opportunities. Working in the produce business and going to Hunts Point, Rudnick witnessed the devastation in the South Bronx. Yet, he remembers his time in the Bronx as a safe, communal environment and at the same time helped him know what it was like growing up in public housing projects in a working class family. Rudnick wishes he understands more of what motivated people to leave, but knows as a child at the time he was shielded from the decisions of his parents.
Sedgwick Projects, Co-op City, Public Housing, white flight, working class, Bronx High School of Science, City College, Vietnam War, Yonkers
Maier Garcia, Sophia, "Rudnick, Stuart" (2022). Bronx Jewish History Project. 7.