LORI M MAIDA, Fordham University


This study is the examination of the community of Belmont, an ethnic neighborhood in the Bronx. It is a community which is constantly changing; for example, one that has contracted but still remains viable. The intention of this paper is to get a general yet accurate picture of how life is lived within the boundaries of a neighborhood in transition. This is a study of stability amidst change. As such, the way in which the people of Belmont have learned to maintain the integrity of the community while changes were taking place both internally and externally, are examined in light of Roland L. Warren's thesis of the "great change" and Gerald D. Suttles' notions on the "defended neighborhood." The important factors studied were change and stability. Warren's theories were used to examine change, while those of Suttles were used to examine durability. The method employed in the paper in order to determine the extent of stability and change within Belmont was a form of Social Reconnaissance, developed and employed by Irwin T. Sanders. The purpose of this method is to provide a community profile--to know the community and to understand it as a social whole, not just a statistical aggregate. This was accomplished through in-depth personal interviews, first with influential members of the community and then "snowballing" out to others most representative of the area. Three major findings on stability and change within Belmont are described and scrutinized against the theories of Warren and Suttles. Summarily stated, there is no inevitability of neighborhood decline because of social, economic, and demographic changes. Through a new resurgence of neighborhood pride, the people of Belmont have realized that only through their tenacity has the integrity of the community survived. It is submitted that this dissertation may provide the basis for further inquiry into the mechanics of neighborhood survival by using Belmont as a paradigm for all communities undergoing transition and change.

Subject Area

Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

MAIDA, LORI M, "BELMONT: A COMMUNITY FIGHTING TO SURVIVE (NEW YORK)" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8714583.