Robert Moses exhibit part 1 at the Museum of the City of New York  2007-02-22


The Museum of the City of New York is at 103rd St. and 5 Ave. at the north end of 'Museum Mile'.   This exhibit covered some of the highway projects of Robert Moses, and very powerful and controversial figure in New York City urban planning and government from the 1930's until the 1960's.    I'd refer you to the famous book by Robert Caro, who you still see occasionally on PBS or the history channel, "The Power Broker" that deals with many of these projects.


This particular exhibit is in 3 parts in 3 museums - the other 2 are at the Queens Museum and at a gallery at Columbia University.  Naturally I will be visiting there.



Below: proposed Cross Manhattan Expressway that was to go across Broome St. in Soho, to connect the east side bridges to the Holland Tunnel.    You can actually see a tiny piece of this that was actually built on the west end of the Manhattan Bridge where a ramp was started.



LEFT: An idea of what Soho would have looked like had this project been built - note remaining cast iron buildings on right.

RIGHT: Another idea of what Soho would have looked like had this project been built - note remaining cast iron buildings on right.




LEFT: A model of a proposal for a Mid-Manhattan Expressway, which would have cut across 33rd st. to connect the Midtown and Lincoln Tunnel as part of I-495.

RIGHT: And instead of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, we almost ended up with the Brooklyn Battery Bridge.   President and Eleanor Roosevelt stepped in to stop the bridge project to force the construction of a tunnel instead.




Another controversial project was the Cross Bronx Expressway, to provide the connection of I-95 from the George Washington Bridge going northeast into New England.   Note how the highway, built in the late 1950's, cut directly through an urban neighborhood, forcing many thousands of people out of their apartments during construction.




From the exhibit, here's an interesting photo of the area surrounding 101 Barclay, probably taken in the 1940s or 50's judging by the buildings and ships.  Approximate location of 101 Barclay on the red arrow.   You'll recognize the telephone company building diagonally across from here.   Note the elevated West Side Highway on West Street - and no Battery Park City - just ships, docks, and factories surrounding the waterfront.



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