Manhattan vs. Moses, what if?

2009 March 25

Moses' proposed Mid-Manhattan subwayI’ve always been a big fan of the What If? series of books which speculate about what would have happened if history had turned out another way. A collegaue of mine pointed me in the direction of a user on Flickr who had constructed maps of Manhattan showing Robert Moses’ proposed cross-Manhattan highways. These maps feel incredibly real showing the routes on as if on Google Maps. 

Business owners and high real estate values doomed the Mid-Manhattan Expressway which would have ran between 30th and 29th street along most of Manhattan. 

The Lower-Manhattan expressway initative was nixed on the count of community activism, and was part of the greater revolution towards community oriented planning in the Urban Planning. The site has a photographic tour of the neighborhood that the highway would have cut through. The building pictured at right on Broome St. and Greene St. is just one of the many buildings that would have been knocked down to make room for these proposed highways.

Thanksfully for New York, these two highways were never constructed due in large part because of the actions of ordinary people. It seems that if these were built midtown Manhattan and SoHo would be radically different from those that we know today. 

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