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1970s and 80s: Well, This Wasn't Exactly the Best of Times
All of New York City had its problems in the 70s and 80s; Williamsburg was no exception. The large number of immigrants who had continued to come throughout the 60s, from places like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, were finding that the factory jobs they were coming for had completely dried up. In fact, the available factory jobs in Williamsburg fell from over 90,000 in 1961 to 12,000 in 1990. The numbers were not good.
Add rampant crime to the discouraging economic numbers because of the fiscal crisis in 1975, and you don't get the nicest picture. In 1971, police detective Frank Serpico was shot in Williamsburg during a drug bust and was left to die by his fellow officers. What I'm saying is, a lot was rotten in Williamsburg. Serpico turned out okay, though. He was able to testify about his shitty police colleagues and his life story got turned into a movie where he was played by Al Pacino, before Al Pacino became all "Hoo-ah!" or whatever in "Scent of a Woman." So you know, it wasn't all bad times. But things were depressed.