Secret of the FDR Drive-Robert Moses-NYCImage via Library of Congress/C.M. Stieglitz

It could be argued that Robert Moses shaped the physical landscape of New York City more so than any other person in the twentieth century. By the end of his tenure, the “master builder” and city planner had constructed 658 playgrounds and 13 bridges, as well as a number of highways, beaches, and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Today, he leaves behind an architectural legacy, but as Robert A. Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography The Power Broker, critically points out, Moses had a tendency to embark on large-scale projects beyond the funding approved by the New York State Legislature. His ideas were not always welcomed with open arms, yet he had no problem dismissing public opposition to his work and displacing hundreds of thousands of residents.

These seven controversial proposals are examples of projects he never had the opportunity to build in New York City:

1. Mid-Manhattan Expressway

robert-moses-mid-manhattan-expressway-new-york-city-untapped-citiesImage via Andrew Lynch: Vanshnookenraggen

Robert Moses was frequently criticized about his lack of concern for community opposition. In a consistent effort to modernize and prepare New York City for the “automobile age,” he was staunchly in favor of building five east-west expressways in Manhattan. The Mid-Manhattan Expressway, initially proposed in 1937, would have connected the Lincoln Tunnel to the Queens Midtown Tunnel with a six lane elevated expressway across 30th Street. Due to growing opposition from officials and the general public, the project was a topic of debate for many years until Governor Nelson Rockefeller finally axed the proposal in 1971.