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Robert Moses

by Robert Moses, 1888-1981

Robert Moses was an influential and contentious urban planner. He helped secure the construction of the UN offices in New York City, the Silver Towers were part of his urban renewal program, and he was crucial to building bridges and other important—if often controversial—infrastructure projects throughout the city. However, his legacy is more about his desires to build expressways over public transportation and make the city more car-friendly than people-friendly. His most famous project was the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have carved a 10-lane highway through Soho, Little Italy, and Greenwich Village, all but destroying most of the cast iron buildings which are now landmarked. Jane Jacobs was an advocate who opposed many of Moses’ ideas. Thanks to her grassroots organization the expressway was doomed, and the decline of Moses’ career had started. With fiscally irresponsible decisions made about the World’s Fair, and a campaign against the free Shakespeare in the Park series, confidence in Moses’ competence was on the decline. He died in 1981, at the age of 92, and his legacy—the good and the bad—shape the city today.


1941 Lower Manhattan Expressway idea conceived by Moses
1962 Lower Manhattan Expressway plan cancelled due to widespread community opposition

Reference Links

article Robert Moses, Master Builder, Is Dead At 92
link Robert Moses: Documentary
link Unbuilt Robert Moses Highway Maps
internal Lower Manhattan Expressway - Wiki
internal Robert Moses - Wiki
internal The Master Builder
internal Episode 94: Unbuilt
internal gDoc