Robert Moses, one of New York’s most legendary city planners, essentially ruled New York City in urban development from 1946 to 1954. According to an article by the New York Sun, the “Master Builder” built “13 bridges, 416 miles of parkways, 658 playgrounds, and 150,000 housing units” in his lifetime. While his achievements are notorious and make New York the incredible city it is today, there is one of Moses’ lesser-known projects still standing tall on Randall’s Island today: The Robert Moses Building.
Robert Moses was designated head of the New York City Parks Department and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority in 1933. By its completion in 1936, the Triborough Bridge connected the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens via Randall’s and Ward’s Island- rightfully catching the eyes of New Yorkers and others around the world. However, a year after the bridge’s finalization came the construction of the Robert Moses Building, which went a bit under the radar.
Originally named “The Administration Building,” the Robert Moses Building was constructed by Aymar Enbury II, who worked on many of Moses’ other architectural projects. The building was completed in 1937, and can be found today next to the Triborough Bridge on Randall’s Island. The Administration Building was meant to be used as the center of operations for the bridge. However, it quickly transformed into a major base of operations for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and its director, Robert Moses.
While the Administration Building mainly dealt with departmental work, one interesting room was added to it in 1966: the model room. This room housed Moses’ models for new projects, including various maps, charts, and other artist renderings. The room also showcased some of Moses’ never completed projects, such as the Brooklyn Battery Bridge, the Long Island Sound Crossing, and the Mid-Manhattan Expressway. These models have since been moved to the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive.
There is also a skybridge located nearby, directly connecting Randall’s Island to the Triborough Bridge- making this an easy-to-reach location for those interested in learning more about Robert Moses and his lesser known works.