On October 5, 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter paid an unscheduled visit to Charlotte Street, while in New York to attend a conference at the headquarters of the United Nations. Charlotte Street at the time was a three-block devastated area of vacant lots and burned-out and abandoned buildings. The street had been so ravaged that part of it had been taken off official city maps in 1974. Carter instructed Patricia Roberts Harris, head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to take steps to salvage the area. Progress did not come quickly; three years later, in 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan paid a visit to Charlotte Street, declaring that he had not “seen anything that looked like this since London after the Blitz”.


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