No matter how far we’ve progressed in terms of urban planning, there will always be those that believe that building massive infrastructure will solve all of the city’s traffic problems. In a proposal that harkens back to Robert Moses‘ Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX), a Delaware traffic consultant has proposed twin suspension bridges that would stretch from New Jersey, over Manhattan, into Queens, crossing along both 38th and 39th Streets. Scott R. Spencer, who has termed his project the Empire State Gateway, sees this proposal as a faster fix than the Gateway Tunnel.
One of our favorite articles is about the buildings in New York City that have literally been picked up and moved. Most of these were smaller houses, but all 3,700 tons of the Empire Theatre on 42nd Street was moved in 1997. On a larger, more imaginary scale is the moving of the Empire State Building, as depicted in the 1960s Thunderbird TV comic by Graham Bleathman from England. In the ’90s, the Thunderbird series was re-released as a comic book with new drawings.
In this scene from Terror in New York City, plans to move the Empire State Building began this year, in 2016, to rebuild a large swatch of Manhattan from Union Square to Central Park. Some key buildings, like the Empire State, are going to be preserved while the rest demolished urban renewal style.
This visual is a fascinating find from @Discovering_NYC – a plan to create a canal from a new port in Jamaica Bay to Flushing Bay which had been in the works since at least 1910, when it was presented to the Barge Terminal Canal Commission at an estimated cost of $12 million. A bill for its construction failed to pass the New York State legislature in 1912 but in 1914 the state included the latest in its Annual Report of the State Engineer and Surveyor on the Canals of the State of New York showing a cost between $12.6 million and $21 million.
In May of 1910, the ill-fated New York City mayor, William Jay Gaynor, proposed a new avenue to be added to Manhattan’s street grid that would go between Fifth and Sixth Avenue between 8th Street and 59th Street. While this might seem like a wild idea today, several new avenues were added to the original grid plotted by the Commissioners of New York City, like Lexington Avenue, Madison Avenue, and several thoroughfares uptown, like St. Nicholas Avenue. As a New York Times article reported on May 29th, 1910, the Gaynor’s avenue would be the same width as Fifth Avenue, then at 100 feet.
“Memorial Arch Completed” (1936). Collection of Brian E. Hack
If the proposed Monument to Democracy, a peace memorial honoring the dead of the First World War, had been built in the Washington Heights section of New York City, it would have been a massive complex with more than 50 statues and an arch taller than the ones in Washington Square Park and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.
Frank Gehry’s Atlantic Yards
Architectural critic Paul Goldberger’s new biography about Frank Gehry, Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry, addresses the architect’s trials and triumphs in New York City. The city represented, Golberger writes, “the unattainable, the mountain that he would try repeatedly to climb, only to find himself sliding back down.” Gehry broke this spell finally with the IAC Building on Manhattan’s west side and the residential skyscraper, New York by Gehry. But prior to these, the city seemed to always evade him, apart from the cafeteria he designed in the Condé Nast headquarters in Times Square.
Here are five projects Gehry designed for the city that were never realized: