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ROBERT MOSES & THE MODERN CITY: Remaking the Metropolis

At the Museum of the City of New York

By Glenn Loney



The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave. at 104th St.

Closing May 28, 2007

Robert Moses obviously loved Automobiles more than People & Neighborhoods. While it is certainly true that his Expressways out into the Wilderness of Long Island opened up previously fertile farmlands for thousands of one-family-homes and apartment-complexes, his Monolithic Roadways in and out of Manhattan also destroyed old neighborhoods and even lives.

Given his broad powers from the State of New York and the Port Authority, he was able to remake the map--not only of Manhattan--but also of the five-boroughs and beyond. It is to Moses' Vision that all those parks along the South Shore of Long Island are owed. He got New Yorkers out of the steaming, teeming city for weekend & summer recreation in those parks.

Then there were all those stunning modern Bridges, and the even more impressive 1939 Flushing Meadows World's Fair--with Norman Bel Geddes' GM Futurama showing the Future dominated by Vehicular Traffic on Automated-Highways!

Some of Moses' most ambitious projects were foiled, such as a Midtown Expressway that would have divided & devastated Manhattan. He was also prevented from developing a similar elevated Freeway across the Island over Canal Street.

This show documents it All! There are models, videos, photos, & texts galore. Robert Caro's magisterial deconstruction of the Moses Myth is saluted, although he was apparently not involved in the planning of this exhibition.

[Some seasons ago at LaMaMa ETC, Theodora Skipitares created a colorful and acidly-satiric show about Moses and his Manhattan Projects. Your scribe nominated it for the Muni Art Society's Brendan Gill Award, but it was possibly Too Strong Stuff for them…]

There is also a kind of tabloid-newspaper available at the show: ROBERT MOSES & THE MODERN CITY. This recaps much of the textual & visual material for your personal-files & future-reference!