02/09/2005:

Henry / Hicks 1

Henry / Hicks 1

Henry / Hicks 1

Henry / Hicks 1

Henry / Hicks 1

The other day in my "Power and Politics" class, we were talking about Robert Moses. The majority of students had an opinion that went something like this: "Well, Moses might have used some pretty nasty means to get what he wanted, but the ends were so spectacular that on the whole you've got to consider him a great man." Of course, as a native New Yorker, I had to forcefully disagree. I listed the usual anti-Moses litany of complaints: he destroyed many great neighborhoods, displaced half a million poor minorities, evicerated the South Bronx, cut off Manhattan and Brooklyn from the water... all so some rich people in Long Island could get to their mansions a little bit faster. Last night, Mike and I went down to Henry Street and Hicks Street in Brooklyn to take a closer look at some of the damage Moses' BQE project created: cutting off Red Hook from the rest of Brooklyn, erasing a whole neighborhood of brownstones, and draining the life out of the Henry Street commercial district. [Unrelated: speaking of people I hate, MT-Blacklist has blocked or moderated more than 22,000 comment spams in the last few months- more than 25 for each of the 800 entries on Bluejake. These comment-spammers are the scum of the Earth!]

Comments

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>>but the ends were so spectacular

??!!? Whose koolaid have they been drinking??

One of the brownstones torn down to make way for the BQE: 7 Middagh St.

in the last one it looks like one of the cars flew down, heh.

the last pic looks magical...almost like a painting. very cool.

Hey, this is my immediate neighborhood. I live on cheever, right around the corner. I am hardly a Moses fan but in his defense he did create many beautiful park spaces. Unfortunately, this pales in comparison to the negative impact his highways and byways had on some of the most amazing neighborhoods in the city. If you have continuing interest, you HAVE to watch the PBS series on New York. One or two of the disks are almost entirely dedicated to Moses rise and his impact on the city, with great commentary from Robert Caro. We have the dvd set and can still watch it over and over; his was such an incredible rise to power and consequential abuse. Its a bit stomach-turning. Luckily for all of us, in true New York fashion, these neighborhoods continue to re-invent themselves against all obstacles and ultimately persevere.

As for the Manhattan waterfront - its only a relatively recent mindset that draws us to the rivers' edges. The waterfront used to be a much loathed and avoided place. If you havent yet, be sure to read Lowlife by Luc Sante [excellent book] and you will know what I mean.

You forgot to mention his impact on our poor Subway.

Interesting. The BQE was actually going to go right where the Promenade is right now. Communitiy pressure made Moses change the plans. Unfortunately, the people of the Bronx (family of mine included) didn't have the clout that some of the more wealthy folks in Brooklyn Heights did.

Of course, now I live in Brooklyn Heights.

The usual verdict on Moses is that prewar his moves were vital and necessary. It was after the war, when his work focused much more on getting people thorugh and out of the city as fast as it could, that the real damage started to be done. The excesses brought on by too much power will do that.

On a side note, does anyone know what the story is with the house in the first picture? That place has been dilapidated for nearly twenty years, I'm shocked no one has tried to buy it before now. Obivously it hasn't improved over the past few months.

And now, just to annoy Jake: great snaps, dude, as usual! :>)

I used to live in the building in your second picture - it's one of the oldest public housing buildings in NYC, if I remember correctly. I love that neighborhood a lot.

Without the projects Moses completed we would all be screwed now. He got these things done in an era where it was still affordable - before just repainting lines now requires an environmental impact statement. How much better would our lives be if he had managed to get the Oyster Bay - Rye bridge built over LI sound and the cross Manhattan expressway built. Too bad he ran out of time.

Mike Ross: Our lives would be far, far worse because NYC would be even more auto-plagued than it is today. More neighborhoods would lie in ruins and more children would suffer from asthma.

GREAT PHOTOS! THOUGHT I'D TAKE A SHOT. I'M LOOKING FOR A PHOTO OF 522 HICKS STREET AND 99 JOHNSON STREET. CAN ANYONE HELP. MY GRANDPARENTS IMMIGRATED IN 1907 AND I JUST RECENTLY FOUND THESE ADDRESSES FOR THEM. I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE THE HELP.

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