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Familiar Name Involved In Controversy Decades Ago

(Flickr)

Pretty interesting note in history. On this date in 1962, officials in New York City voted against a plan for an elevated expressway across the bottom of Manhattan. It was supposed connect the Holland Tunnel on the West Side with the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges on the East side, but it would cut through neighborhoods known as TriBeCa and SoHo.

That plan would have meant nearly 2,000 families and more than 800 businesses would have had to leave and hundreds of buildings and homes knocked down to clear the way. The man pushing the idea said it would make it easier to travel between New Jersey and Long Island and it would benefit millions while inconveniencing a few hundred. His famous line was “when you operate in an overbuilt metropolis you have to hack your way with a meat axe.”

And you’ve heard the man’s name: Robert Moses. There’s even an expressway in Niagara County named after him. It’s the same expressway that environmental groups have been trying to get rid of for years. The Robert Moses Parkway was built in the late 1950s and it basically cut off pedestrian access to the Niagara River and the falls. And just like the plan in New York City it took away homes and businesses that were in the way.

Then there’s the issue of the Niagara Thruway that basically did the same thing in Buffalo, cutting off access to the river all in the name of progress. And just like in the Falls construction of the Niagara Thruway took out home and businesses along the way in Buffalo.

Mistakes like those are the reason that preservation groups are so adamant when plans come along for new projects. Neighborhoods were saved in New York City because they had the fortitude to stand up for what they believed.

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