2. Brooklyn Battery Bridge

Robert Moses with a model of his proposed Battery Bridge. Photo from Wikimedia Commons 

In the late 1930s, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia wanted to construct a tunnel between Brooklyn and the Battery as a way to remedy traffic congestion on New York City’s thoroughfares. Because The Public Works Authority and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation were not able to finance the project, Mayor La Guardia hesitantly asked Robert Moses, the chairman of the Triborough Bridge Authority, for the necessary funds. Moses agreed to turn over more than $30 million on the condition that he would also take over the Tunnel Authority.

This gave him the leverage to change the project as he saw fit. In January 1939, only three months after the tunnel proposal was approved, Moses announced that he would build a bridge instead. Fearing the consequences its construction would have on Battery Park, Brooklyn Heights and Castle Clinton, which housed the McKim, Mead & White-designed Aquarium at the time, the public adamantly opposed the project. It took the combination of preservation efforts by civic leaders and a federal agency, the War Department, to save The Battery and block the bridge from being built.