The Prisoner of Second Avenue Historical Context

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Sheridan Morley, in his review of the play for Spectator, writes that The Prisoner of Second Avenue “deals with a moment in history when not only the central character but Manhattan itself was on the brink of a total nervous collapse.” The events that occurred in 1971, the probable year in which the action of the play takes place, illustrate this pervasive deterioration. City police went on strike along with eight thousand state, county, and municipal employees and local members of the Communications Workers of America. Crime rates soared while two city policemen were murdered and participants in a Puerto Rican Day Parade were attacked. In September, riots broke out in New York State's Attica Prison, which lasted for several days. When order was restored, thirty-two prisoners and eleven guards and police were dead.

Social institutions were strained to the breaking point...

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This section contains 272 words
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Buy The Prisoner of Second Avenue Study Guide
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