1. West Side Highway/Westway Freeway

Photo from New York Public Library

The West Side Highway used to be elevated all the way down to the Battery but a collapse in 1973 near Gansevoort Street caused its closure and diversion. But even before this, proposals were underway to replace the deteriorating West Side Highway with a new highway over the Hudson River, on top of which 700 acres of new land could be created for apartments and parkland.

The debate over Westway became one of the most politicized dramas of the 1970s and 1980s, with the community and environmental activists (along with legislators who feared it would reduce federal highway money) blocking plans for the new highway. In the end, West Street was updated new design elements with further improvements later with its incorporation into the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.

Next, read about 10 Outrageous Architectural Plans that Never Left the Drawing Board