Monday, February 05, 2007

A Statue Of Robert Moses

I have found the perfect place for a statue of Robert Moses, to commemorate the changes he brought to New York.

There is a circle at the west corner of Prospect Park where Ocean Parkway used to begin. It is hard to imagine what this corner was like when it was first built, but it must have been a high point in the history of New York's urban design. Frederick Law Olmstead considered Prospect Park his greatest creation; the boulevards radiating from the corners of the park were the key to Olmstead's planning vision for Brooklyn; and Ocean Parkway was the most completely realized of these boulevards.

Robert Moses destroyed the stretch of Ocean Parkway nearest to Prospect Park in order to build a sunken freeway there, the Prospect Expressway. The boulevard that tied together the neighborhood was replaced by a freeway that sliced up the neighborhood. Shortly after Moses did this, the rest of Ocean Parkway was declared a landmark, so no one could do the same sort of damage to the rest of this boulevard.

This circle must have been a popular place for pedestrians when it was first built. The intact parts of Ocean Parkway are still full of people sitting and strolling, and this circle must have been even more lively, because it connected Ocean Parkway with Prospect Park.

Today, it is an empty circle full of weeds with a freeway passing by it. This circle is an ideal place for a statue of Robert Moses, with a plaque describing how he changed this neighborhood.

Because there are no pedestrians here, the statue is bound to be vandalized and covered with graffiti, exactly what Robert Moses deserves for vandalizing this neighborhood.

But if the damage that Robert Moses did to this neighborhood is ever undone - if the freeway is removed and the boulevard is restored - then the crowds of people on the boulevard will deter the graffiti artists. If Moses' act of vandalism is ever undone, then his statue will no longer be vandalized.


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