Monday, July 27, 2015

Saved From Robert Moses' Lower Manhahattan Expressway

I was recently in New York, taking some pictures for my forthcoming book Architecture in a Technological Society: The Humanists Versus the Reactionary Avant Garde. To illustrate a turning point in the history of urbanism, I took a series of pictures of the north side of Broome Street, which Robert Moses would have demolished to build his Lower Manhattan Expressway.  The famous writer and urbanist, Jane Jacobs, helped lead the opposition that stopped this freeway.

This freeway would have sliced through the neighborhood that is now called SoHo, which was considered a slum at the time but which has since become one of New York's most popular shopping and residential neighborhoods. It is so successful that Cadillac recently decided to move its headquarters to SoHo and to run advertisements campaign meant to rehabilitate the image of that car by showing pictures of it in SoHo.  It is unlikely that the neighborhood would have had this revival if Robert Moses' freeway had sliced through it.

I will only be able to use one picture of this street in my book, so I am posting a series of pictures of Broome Street here.  These pictures go from west to east, and they are all on the north side of Broome Street between Sullivan Street and the Bowery, which would have been demolished for Moses' freeway.  

The new Cadillac headquarters is in a SoHo neighborhood with similar character that is a bit to the west of this part of Broome Street, at 330 Hudson Street - just a couple of blocks from where Jane Jacobs lived when she helped to stop the Lower Manhattan Expressway.