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Robert Moses

Robert Moses with a model of his proposed Battery Bridge
Born December 18, 1888(1888-12-18)
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Died July 29, 1981 (aged 92)
West Islip, New York
Cause of death Heart disease
Spouse(s) Mary Sims Moses (1915-1966)
Mary Grady Moses (1966-1981)
Notes

Robert Moses (December 18, 1888 – July 29, 1981) was the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County, New York. As the shaper of a modern city, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of urban planning in the United States. He changed shorelines, built bridges, tunnels and roadways, and transformed neighborhoods forever. His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation.

Moses' projects were considered by many to be necessary for the region's development after being hit hard by the Great Depression. During the height of his powers, New York City participated in the construction of two huge World's Fairs: one in 1939 and the other in 1964. Moses was also in large part responsible for the United Nations' decision to headquarter in Manhattan as opposed to Philadelphia. His supporters believe he made the city viable for the 21st century by building an infrastructure that most people wanted and that has endured.

His works remain extremely controversial. His critics claim that he preferred automobiles to people, that he displaced hundreds of thousands of residents in New York City, uprooted traditional neighborhoods by building expressways through them, contributed to the ruin of the South Bronx and the amusement parks of Coney Island, caused the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants Major League baseball teams, and precipitated the decline of public transport through disinvestment and neglect.

Contents

Early life and rise to power

Moses was born to assimilated German Jewish parents in New Haven, Connecticut. He spent the first nine years of his life living at 83 Dwight Street in New Haven, two blocks from Yale University. In 1897, the Moses family moved to New York City,[3] where they lived on East 46th Street off of Fifth Avenue.[4] Moses' father was a successful department store owner and real estate speculator in New Haven. In order for the family to move to New York City, he sold his real estate holdings and store, and then retired from business for the rest of his life.[3] Bella, Moses' mother, was a forceful and brilliant woman, active in the settlement movement, with her own love of building.

After graduating from Yale University and Wadham College, Oxford, and earning a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, Moses became attracted to New York City reform politics. At this time a committed idealist, he developed several plans to rid New York of patronage hiring practices, including being the lead author of a 1919 proposal to reorganize the NY state government. None went very far, but Moses, due to his intelligence, caught the notice of Belle Moskowitz, a friend and trusted advisor to Al Smith.

Moses rose to power with Smith and set in motion a sweeping consolidation of the New York State government. This centralization allowed Smith to run a government later used as a model for Roosevelt's New Deal federal government. Moses also received numerous commissions that he carried out extraordinarily well, such as the development of Jones Beach State Park. Displaying a strong command of law as well as matters of engineering, Moses became known for his skill in drafting legislation, and was called "the best bill drafter in Albany"[citation needed]. At a time when the public was used to Tammany Hall corruption and incompetence, Moses was seen as a savior of government. Shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration, the federal government found itself with millions of New Deal tax dollars to spend, yet states and cities had few projects ready. Moses was one of the few local officials who had projects planned and prepared. For that reason, New York City could count on Moses to deliver to it Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and other depression-era funding.

Influence

At one time, one quarter of Federal construction dollars were being spent in New York, and Moses had 80,000 people working under him[citation needed]. Although he built playgrounds in vast numbers, almost none of those were located in Harlem. Similarly, the main aesthetic achievements of Riverside Drive and associated amenities were located south of 125th street, and a pattern of barriers to access for non-white citizens, whether steep stairs or busy highways, appears repeatedly in his public projects. Close associates of Moses claimed that they could keep African Americans from using pools in white neighborhoods by making the water too cold.[5][6] He actively precluded the use of public transit that would have allowed the non-car-owners to enjoy the elaborate recreation facilities he built. [6] After much litigation by private landowners, his highway projects on Long Island followed a circuitous path so as not to cross the properties of wealthy landowners such as J. P. Morgan, Jr., while those same highways demolished numerous working class neighborhoods throughout New York City.

During the Depression, however, Moses, along with Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, was responsible for the construction of ten gigantic pools under the WPA Program. Combined, they could accommodate 66,000 swimmers. This extensive social works program is sometimes attributed to the fact that Moses was an avid swimmer himself. One such a pool is McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn, now dry and used only for special cultural events but scheduled for reconstruction starting in 2009.[7]

Moses persuaded Governor Smith and the government of New York City to allow him to hold state and the city governments jobs simultaneously; at one point, he had 12 separate titles, maintaining four palatial offices across the city and Long Island, and actually holding control of all federal appropriations to New York City. For the city, he was Parks Commissioner, and for the state, he was President of the Long Island State Park Commission and Secretary of State of New York (1927–1928), as well as Chairman of the New York State Power Commission, responsible for building hydro-electric dams in the Niagara/St. Lawrence region.

During the 1920s, Moses sparred with Franklin D. Roosevelt, then head of the Taconic State Park Commission, who favored the prompt construction of a parkway through the Hudson Valley. Moses succeeded in diverting funds to his Long Island parkway projects (the Northern State Parkway, the Southern State Parkway and the Wantagh State Parkway), although the Taconic State Parkway was later completed as well.[8] Moses is frequently given credit as the father of the New York State Parkway System from these projects.

As the head of many public authorities, Moses's title as chair gave his entities the flexibility associated with private enterprise, along with the tax-exempt debt capacity associated with government agencies. The inner workings of the authorities were free from public scrutiny, allowing money to be freely allocated to expenses a public government could not sustain. Contrary to his public image, Moses horse-traded and dealt out patronage extensively, building support from construction firms, investment banks, insurance companies, labor unions (and management), and real-estate developers. Calling on these vast reserves of power, Moses quickly developed a reputation for "getting things done" and used his influence to fast-track projects in legislators' home districts, a tactic for which these same lawmakers repaid him by granting money for ever more ambitious projects. He dealt out enough spoils to both political parties to ensure he avoided unwanted attention to his patronage politics.

In 1934, he ran on the Republican ticket for Governor of New York, but was routed by the incumbent Democrat Herbert H. Lehman. A measure of how badly he was defeated is seen in that the GOP held one or both houses of the New York state legislature in the period from 1912 to 1964 ...except in the wake of the Moses landslide defeat.

Triborough Bridge

Part of the Triborough Bridge (left) with Astoria Park and its pool in the center

Robert Moses had power over the construction of all public housing projects, but the one position above all others giving him political power was his chairmanship of the Triborough Bridge Authority.

The Triborough Bridge (now officially the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge), a cluster of three separate spans, connects the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens. The legal structure of this particular public authority made it impervious to influence from mayors and governors, due to the language in the bond contracts and multi-year appointments of the Commissioners. While New York City and New York State were perpetually strapped for money, the bridge's toll revenues amounted to tens of millions of dollars a year. The agency was therefore capable of financing the borrowing of hundreds of millions of dollars, making Moses the only person in New York capable of funding large public construction projects. Toll revenues rose quickly, as traffic on the bridges exceeded all projections. Rather than pay off the bonds, Moses sought other toll projects to build, a cycle that fed on itself.

Brooklyn Battery Bridge

In the late 1930s a municipal controversy raged over whether an additional vehicular link between Brooklyn and lower Manhattan should be a bridge or a tunnel. Bridges can be wider and cheaper but tall ones use more ramp space at landfall than tunnels. A "Brooklyn Battery Bridge" would have destroyed Battery Park and physically encroached on the financial district. The bridge was opposed by the Regional Plan Association, historical preservationists, Wall Street financial interests and property owners, various high society people, construction unions (since a tunnel would give them more work), the Manhattan borough president, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and governor Herbert H. Lehman.

Moses, on the other hand, favored a bridge. It could carry more automobile traffic than a tunnel and would also serve as a visible monument. More traffic meant more tolls, and more tolls meant more money and therefore more power for public improvements. LaGuardia and Lehman, as usual, had no money to spend and the federal government, by this point, felt it had given New York enough. Moses, because of his control of Triborough, had money to spend, and he decided his money could only be spent on a bridge. He also clashed with chief engineer of the project, Ole Singstad, who also preferred a tunnel in place of a bridge.

Only a lack of a key Federal approval thwarted the bridge scheme. President Roosevelt ordered the War Department to assert that a bridge in that location, if bombed, would block the East River access to the Brooklyn Navy Yard upstream. A dubious claim for a river already crossed by bridges, it nevertheless stopped Moses. In retaliation for being prevented from building his bridge, Moses dismantled the New York Aquarium that had been in Castle Clinton and moved it to Coney Island in Brooklyn. He also attempted to raze Castle Clinton itself, on a variety of pretenses, and the historic fort's survival was assured only after ownership was transferred to the federal government.

Ending up, Moses was forced to settle for a tunnel connecting Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan, now called the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. A 1941 publication from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority claimed that the government had forced them to build a tunnel at "twice the cost, twice the operating fees, twice the difficulty to engineer, and half the traffic," though engineering studies did not support this conclusion, and a tunnel may have held many of the advantages Moses publicly tried to attach to the bridge option.

Ultimately, this was not the first time that Moses tried to carry out the bridge option when a tunnel was already in progress. The same issue also occurred when the Queens-Midtown Tunnel was being planned, in which he also clashed with Ole Singstad and tried to upstage the Tunnel Authority.[9] For the same reasons, Moses also preferred a bridge crossing, but with no luck since the bridge was not supported by many officials.[9]

Post-war city planning

United Nations headquarters in New York City, viewed from the East River. The Secretariat tower is on the left and the General Assembly building is the low structure to the right of the tower

Moses' power increased after World War II, when, after the retirement of LaGuardia, a series of politically weak mayors consented to almost all of Moses' proposals. Named city "construction coordinator", in 1946, by Mayor William O'Dwyer, Moses also became the official representative of New York City in Washington, D.C. Moses was also now given powers over public housing that had eluded him under LaGuardia. Moses' power grew even more when O'Dwyer was forced to resign in disgrace and was succeeded by Vincent R. Impellitteri, who was more than content to allow Moses to exercise control over infrastructure projects from behind the scenes. One of Moses' first steps after Impellitteri took office was killing the development of a city-wide Comprehensive Zoning Plan, underway since 1938, that would have restrained his nearly uninhibited power to build within the city, and removing the existing Zoning Commissioner from power. Impellitteri enabled Moses in other ways, too. Moses was now the sole person authorized to negotiate in Washington for New York City projects. He could now remake New York for the automobile. By 1959, Moses had built 28,000 apartment units on hundreds of acres. In clearing the land for high-rises in accordance with the tower in a park scheme, which at that time was seen as innovative and beneficial, he sometimes destroyed almost as many housing units as he built.

From the 1930s to the 1960s, Robert Moses was responsible for the construction of the Throgs Neck, the Bronx-Whitestone, the Henry Hudson, and the Verrazano Narrows bridges. His other projects included the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Staten Island Expressway, the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the Belt Parkway, the Laurelton Parkway, and many more. Federal interest had shifted from parkway to freeway systems, and the new roads mostly conformed to the new vision, lacking the landscaping or the commercial traffic restrictions of the pre-war ones. He was the mover behind Shea Stadium and Lincoln Center, and contributed to the United Nations headquarters.

Moses had direct influence outside the New York area as well. City planners in many smaller American cities hired Moses to design freeway networks for them in the 1940s and early 1950s. Few of these were built; initially postponed for lack of funding, projects still unbuilt by the 1960s were often defeated by the awakening citizen-led opposition movement. The first successful examples of these freeway revolts were in New Orleans. Original plans for Interstate 10 followed U.S. Route 90 through Uptown, but instead the Interstate through the western part of the city was routed along the Pontchartrain Expressway. Following that adjustment was the blocking of New Orleans' Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway, an elevated highway that would have sliced through the French Quarter, resulting in an even greater impact on the city's sense of history. Later, successful freeway revolts that saw highway projects either scaled back or cancelled outright also occurred in Portland, Oregon (see Mount Hood Freeway and Harbor Drive), San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Phoenix, Memphis, Toronto[10][11], and eventually even Los Angeles.[12]

Car culture

Moses knew how to drive, but because he didn't have a license, many sources say that he did not know how to drive.[13] His view of the automobile was shaped by the 1920s, when the car was thought of as entertainment and not a utilitarian lifestyle. Moses' highways in the first half of the 20th century were parkways, curving, landscaped "ribbon parks," intended to be pleasures to drive in and "lungs for the city".

Brooklyn Dodgers

Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley wanted to build a new stadium to replace the outdated and dilapidated Ebbets Field. O'Malley determined the best site for the stadium was on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn at the end of the Long Island Rail Road. O'Malley pleaded with Moses to help him secure the property in a cost effective manner, but Moses wanted to use the land to build a parking garage. Moses envisioned New York's newest stadium in Flushing Meadows on the former (and as it turned out, future) site of the World's Fair in Queens. O'Malley was vehement in his opposition, but Moses would not be moved on this issue. After the Dodgers left for Los Angeles, and subsequently, the New York Giants to San Francisco, Moses was able to build Shea Stadium in Queens on the site he planned for stadium development. Construction began in October 1961 and the stadium opened in April 1964 to house the National League's New York Mets.

End of the Moses era

View of the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair as seen from the observation towers of the New York State pavilion. The Fair's symbol, the Unisphere, is the central image.

Moses's reputation began to wane in the 1960s as public debate on urban planning began to focus on the virtues of intimate neighborhoods and smallness of scale. Around this time, Moses also started picking political battles he could not win. His campaign against the free Shakespeare in the Park received much negative publicity, and his effort to destroy a shaded playground in Central Park to make way for a parking lot for the expensive Tavern-on-the-Green restaurant made him many enemies among the middle-class voters of the Upper West Side.

The opposition reached a crescendo over the demolition of Penn Station, which many attributed to the "development scheme" mentality cultivated by Moses[citation needed] although the impoverished Pennsylvania Railroad was actually responsible for the demolition.[citation needed] The casual destruction of one of New York's greatest architectural landmarks helped prompt many city residents to turn against Moses' plans to build a Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have gone through Greenwich Village and what is now SoHo.[citation needed] This plan and the Mid-Manhattan Expressway both failed politically; to this day no superhighway goes through the heart of Manhattan. One of his most vocal critics during this time was the urban activist Jane Jacobs, whose book The Death and Life of Great American Cities was instrumental in turning opinion against Moses's plans; the city government rejected the expressway in 1964.[citation needed]

Moses' power was further sapped by his association with the 1964 New York World's Fair. His assumption of aggregate attendance of 70 million people for this event proved wildly optimistic, and generous contracts for Fair executives and contractors did not help the economics. His repeated and forceful public denials of the Fair's considerable financial difficulties in the face of the evidence eventually provoked press and governmental investigations, which eventually found accounting deceptions.[citation needed] In his organization of the fair, Moses' reputation was tarnished by his disdain for the opinions of others, his high-handed attempts to get his way in moments of conflict by turning to the press, and the fact that the fair was not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), the worldwide body supervising such events.[citation needed] Moses refused to accept BIE requirements, including a restriction against charging ground rents to exhibitors, and the BIE in turn instructed its member nations not to participate.[citation needed] (The United States had already staged the sanctioned Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1962. According to the rules of the organization, no one nation could host more than one fair in a decade.) The major European democracies, as well as Canada, Australia and the Soviet Union were all BIE members and they declined to participate, instead reserving their efforts for the Seattle fair to be used at Expo 67 in Montreal.

After the World's Fair, New York City mayor John Lindsay, along with Governor Nelson Rockefeller, sought to use toll revenues from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority's (TBTA) bridges and tunnels to cover deficits in the city's then financially ailing agencies, including the subway system. Moses opposed this idea and fought to prevent it.[citation needed] Lindsay removed Moses from his post as the city's chief advocate for federal highway money in Washington.

But Moses could not so easily fend off Rockefeller, the only politician in the state who had a power base independent of him. The legislature's vote to fold the TBTA into the newly-created Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) could technically have led to a lawsuit by the TBTA bondholders, since the bond contracts were written into state law and under Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution states may not impair existing contractual obligations, and the bondholders had right of approval over such actions. However, the largest holder of TBTA bonds, and thus agent for all the others, was the Chase Manhattan Bank, headed then by David Rockefeller, the governor's brother. No suit was filed or even discussed. Moses could have directed TBTA to go to court against the action, but having been promised certain roles in the merged authority, Moses in turn declined to challenge the merger.

On March 1, 1968, the TBTA was folded into the MTA and Moses gave up his post as chairman of the TBTA. He eventually became a consultant to the MTA, but its new chairman and the governor froze him out - the promised roles did not materialize, and for all practical purposes Moses was out of power.

Moses had thought he had convinced Nelson Rockefeller of the need for one last great bridge project, a span crossing Long Island Sound from Rye to Oyster Bay. Rockefeller did not press for the project in the late 1960s through 1970, fearing public backlash among suburban Republicans would hinder his re-election prospects. While a 1972 study found the bridge was fiscally prudent and could be environmentally manageable, the anti-development sentiment was now insurmountable and in 1973 Rockefeller canceled plans for the bridge. In retrospect, NYCroads.com author Steve Anderson writes that leaving densely-populated Long Island completely dependent on access through New York City may not have been an optimal policy decision.[14]

The Power Broker

Moses' image suffered a further blow in 1974 with the publication of The Power Broker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by Robert A. Caro. Caro's 1,200-page opus (edited from over 3,000 pages long) largely destroyed the remainder of Moses's reputation; essayist Phillip Lopate writes that "Moses' satanic reputation with the public can be traced, in the main, to...Caro's magnificent biography."[15] For example, Caro described how insensitive Moses was in the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, and how he willfully neglected public transit. Moses's reputation today is in many ways attributable to Caro, whose book won both the Pulitzer Prize in Biography in 1975 and the Francis Parkman Prize, which is awarded by the Society of American Historians, and was named one of the 100 greatest non-fiction books of the twentieth century by the Modern Library.

Caro's depiction of Moses' life gives him full credit for his early achievements, showing, for example, how he conceived and created Jones Beach and the New York State Park system, but he also shows how, as Moses' desire for power came to be more important to him than his earlier dreams, he destroyed more than a score of neighborhoods, by ramming 13 huge expressways across the heart of New York City and by building huge urban renewal projects with little regard for the urban fabric or for human scale. Yet the author is more neutral in his central premise: the city would have been a very different place — maybe better, maybe worse — if Moses had never existed. Other U.S. cities were doing the same thing as New York in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Boston, San Francisco and Seattle, for instance, each built highways straight through their downtown areas. The New York City architectural intelligentsia of the 1940s and 1950s largely believed in such prophets of the automobile as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe had supported Moses. Many other cities, like Newark, Chicago and St. Louis, also built massive, unattractive public housing projects.

Caro argues that Moses also demonstrated racist tendencies.[16] He, along with other members of the New York city planning commission, were vocal opponents against black war veterans moving into Stuyvesant Town, a Manhattan residential development complex created to house World War II veterans.

People had come to see Moses as a bully who disregarded public input, but until the publication of Caro's book, they had not known that he had allowed his brother Paul to spend much of his life in poverty. Paul Moses, who was interviewed by Caro shortly before his death, claimed Robert had exerted undue influence on their mother to change their will in his favour shortly before her death. Caro notes that Paul was on bad terms with their mother over a long period and she may have changed the will of her own accord. Caro suggested that Robert's subsequent treatment of Paul may have been legally justifiable but was morally questionable.

A depiction of Moses at Fordham University, Lincoln Center
The crypt of Robert Moses

Death

During the last years of his life, Moses concentrated on his lifelong love of swimming and was an active member of the Colony Hill Country Club.

Moses died of heart disease on July 29, 1981, at the age of 92 at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York. The headings in his New York Times obituary package form both a found poem and a thumbnail sketch of his life and influence: "Robert Moses, Master Builder, Is Dead at 92; Robert Moses, Builder of Road, Beach, Bridge and Housing Projects, Is Dead; Associate of High Officials; The Grand-Scale Approach; Not a Professional Planner; Part of 'Our Crowd'; Into the Orbit of Power; Fur Coat or Underwear?; An Overwhelming Success; Long Court Fights; Drafted Park Legislation; Moses' Tactics Were Both Extolled and Criticized; Badly Beaten in Election; Built to His Own Tastes; A Sampler of Quotations by Moses; The Face of a Region; and How One Man Changed It."

Moses was ethnically Jewish, but was raised in a secularist manner inspired by the Ethical Culture movement of the late 19th century. He was a convert to Christianity[17] and was interred in a crypt in an outdoor community mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx following services at Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in Bay Shore, New York.

Legacy and lasting impact

The bridges of Robert Moses are a hotly disputed topic in the Social construction of technology, popularized through Robert Caro’s biography of Robert Moses The Power Broker. In it he claims that Moses purposefully built 204 bridges on Long Island too low for buses to clear. Due to poorer minorities being largely dependent on public transit, he interprets this as a testimony to Moses’s racism. Caro bases his claim on an earlier work by Langdon Winner, entitled Do Artifacts Have Politics? in which he answers this question, giving Moses’s bridges as an example. This allegation, however, has since been thoroughly refuted by Bernward Joerges in his essay Do Politics Have Artefacts?[18] On page 8 he writes that “at the time of the parkway building (beginning 1924), Long Island was already considerably well developed in terms of transport. The Manhattan-Long Island railway operated since 1877, and a rather dense system of ordinary roads was in place, parallel and across the parkways. The Long Island Expressway, a true Autobahn intended to relieve traffic congestion on the Island, was built by Moses alongside the Parkways.” Hence, as a segregationist measure, those bridges would be utterly ineffectual. Joerges goes on to give multiple reasons for the bridge’s nature, for example that “[i]n the USA, trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles were prohibited on all parkways. Moses did nothing different on Long Island from any parks commissioner in the country.”

While the overall impact of many of Moses’ projects continues to be debated, their sheer scale across the urban landscape is indisputable. The peak of Moses’s construction occurred during the economic duress of the Great Depression, and despite that era’s woes, Moses’s projects were completed in a timely fashion, and have been reliable public works since—which compares favorably to the contemporary delays New York City officials have had redeveloping the Ground Zero site of the former World Trade Center, or the technical snafus surrounding Boston’s Big Dig project. [19]

Three major exhibits in 2007 prompted a reconsideration of his image among some intellectuals, as they acknowledged the magnitude of his achievements. According to Columbia University architectural historian Hilary Ballon and assorted colleagues, Moses deserves better. They argue that his legacy is more relevant than ever. All around New York State, she says, people take for granted the parks, playgrounds and housing Moses built, now generally binding forces in those areas, even if the old-style New York neighborhood was of no interest to Moses himself. And were it not for Moses’ public infrastructure and his resolve to carve out more space, she argues, New York might not have been able to recover from the blight and flight of the 1970s and ’80s and become the economic magnet it is today, she suggests.[20]

“Every generation writes its own history,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, a historian of New York City. “It could be that The Power Broker was a reflection of its time: New York was in trouble and had been in decline for 15 years. Now, for a whole host of reasons, New York is entering a new time, a time of optimism, growth and revival that hasn’t been seen in half a century. And that causes us to look at our infrastructure,” said Jackson. “A lot of big projects are on the table again, and it kind of suggests a Moses era without Moses,” he added.[21]

Politicians, too, are reconsidering the Moses legacy. In a 2006 speech to the Regional Plan Association on downstate transportation needs, Eliot Spitzer, who would be overwhelmingly elected governor later that year, said a biography of Moses written today might be called At Least He Got It Built. “That’s what we need today. A real commitment to get things done.”[22]

A testament to the enduring nature of his impact can be found in the various locations and roadways in New York State that bear Moses’s name. These include two state parks (one in Massena, New York, the other on Long Island), the Robert Moses Causeway on Long Island, the Robert Moses State Parkway in Niagara Falls, New York, and the Robert Moses Hydro-Electric Dam (source of much of New York City’s electricity) also in Niagara Falls. Moses also has a school named after him in North Babylon, New York on Long Island. There are other signs of the surviving appreciation held for him by some circles of the public. A statue of Moses was erected next to the Village Hall in his long-time hometown, Babylon Village, New York, in 2003, as well as a bust on the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University.

The impact of Robert Moses on the Rockaway Peninsula was almost universally considered positive with his development of Jacob Riis Park and the Marine Parkway Bridge in the 1930s. However, Moses’s construction of the Shore Front Parkway and his large-scale introduction of public housing and large-scale demolition of the bungalow area along Rockaway’s beachfront provoked criticism.

Miscellany

  • Robert Moses had the Central Park Zoo built for Al Smith--the former governor, and president of the Empire State Building--who lived near the park on the Upper East Side. Moses gave Smith a night key, and the elderly former "king of Irish New York" would go down to the Central Park Zoo by himself to talk to the animals. Smith loved to spend hours in the zoo after hours, "and he would switch on the lights as he entered each one, to the surprise of its occupants, and talk softly to them...And if one of the zoo’s less dangerous animals was sick or injured, Smith would enter its cage and stand for a while stroking its head and commiserating with it.”[23]

See also

References

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Notes

  1. ^ Goldberger, Paul (1981-07-30). "Robert Moses, Master Builder, is Dead at 92". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1218.html. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Mary Grady Moses, 77". The New York Times. 1993-09-04. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/04/obituaries/mary-grady-moses-77.html. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  3. ^ a b Caro, page 29
  4. ^ DeWan, George (2007). "The Master Builder". Long Island History. Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/community/guide/lihistory/ny-history-hs722a,0,7092161.story. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
  5. ^ Powell, Michael. "A Tale of Two Cities", The New York Times, May 6, 2007. Accessed May 7, 2007. "As for the pool-cooling, Mr. Caro interviewed Moses’ associates on the record (“You can pretty well keep them out of any pool if you keep the water cold enough,” he quotes Sidney M. Shapiro, a close Moses aide, as saying)."
  6. ^ a b Caro.
  7. ^ "McCarren Park & Pool". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_divisions/capital/parks/mc_carren_park_and_pool.html. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  8. ^ Taconic State Parkway, NYCRoads.com, accessed May 25, 2006.
  9. ^ a b NYC Roads: Queens-Midtown Tunnel
  10. ^ Houpt, Simon (2007-02-05). "Moses vs. Jacobs plays again". Opinions (The Globe and Mail). http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070205.HOUPT06/PPVStory/?DENIED=1. Retrieved 2007-03-03. 
  11. ^ In 1969, Jane Jacobs helped spearhead opposition in Toronto, Ontario against the Spadina Expressway.
  12. ^ Doig (1990)
  13. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1979). "Eccentricities". Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. pp. 105. ISBN 0-448-15776-4. 
  14. ^ Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge at NYCRoads.com, accessed May 25, 2006
  15. ^ Lopate, Phillip (February 11, 2007), "A Town Revived, a Villain Redeemed", New York Times: 3 [Section 14, Column 1] 
  16. ^ Caro, Robert. The Power Broker, p.510, p. 514
  17. ^ Purnick, Joyce (August 1, 1981), "Legacy of Moses Hailed", New York Times: 29 [Section 2, Column 1] 
  18. ^ Bernward Joerges: 1999, Do Politics Have Artefacts?, retrieved February 26, 2010.
  19. ^ Edward Glaeser, “Great Cities Need Great Builders”, New York Sun, January 19, 2007
  20. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (January 28, 2007), "Rehabilitating Robert Moses", New York Times: 1 [Section 2, Column 3, Architecture section] 
  21. ^ Pogrebin, “Rehabilitating Robert Moses”
  22. ^ Spitzer, Elliot; May 5, 2006; Downstate Transportation Issues Speech at Regional Plan Association’s 16th Annual Regional Assembly; retrieved from rpa.org February 15, 2007.
  23. ^ Caro, p. 382

Sources

Further reading

  • Ballon, Hilary, Robert Moses and the Modern City:The Transformation of New York(NY: Norton, 2007).
  • Caro, Robert A., The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York, New York: Knopf, 1974. hardcover: ISBN 0-394-48076-7, Vintage paperback: ISBN 0-394-72024-5
  • Berman, Marshall, All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity, New York: Viking Penguin, 1988.
  • Jameson W. Doig, "Regional Conflict in the New York Metropolis: The Legend of Robert Moses and the Power of the Port Authority," Urban Studies Volume 27, Number 2 / April 1990 pp 201–232
  • Kenneth T. Jackson and Hillary Ballon, eds. Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York (W. W. Norton, 2007)
  • Lewis, Eugene, Public Entrepreneurship : toward a theory of bureaucratic political power—the organizational lives of Hyman Rickover, J. Edgar Hoover, and Robert Moses, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1980.
  • Rodgers, Cleveland, Robert Moses, Builder for Democracy, New York: Holt, 1952.
  • Krieg, Joann P. Robert Moses: Single-Minded Genius, Interlaken, New York: Heart of the Lakes Publishing, 1989.
  • Moses Robert. Public works: A dangerous trade. McGraw Hill. 1970. Autobiography

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Florence E. S. Knapp
Secretary of State of New York
1927 - 1929
Succeeded by
Edward J. Flynn
Party political offices
Preceded by
William Joseph Donovan
Republican Nominee for Governor of New York
1934
Succeeded by
William Bleakley

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Robert Moses (1888 – 1981) was the "master builder" of 20th century New York City, an advocate of a controversial style of urban planning that favored the construction of new highways over the preservation of existing neighborhoods.

Sourced

  • I raise my stein to the builder who can remove ghettos without removing people as I hail the chef who can make omelets without breaking eggs.

Unsourced

  • You can draw any kind of picture you like on a clean slate ... but when you build in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.
  • Cities are created by and for traffic. A city without traffic is a ghost town.

External links

Wikipedia
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