07 April 2009

How New York was Almost Destroyed

Massengale transcribes some choice quotes from the battle for New York in the 60s and 70s while watching Rick Burns' New York:

"Everybody it would seem is for the rebuilding of our cities, with a unity of approach that is remarkable. But that is not the same thing as liking cities. Most of the rebuilding under way is being designed by people who don't like cities. They do not merely dislike the noise, and the dirt, and the congestion. They dislike the city's variety and concentration. Its tension. Its hustle and bustle. The result is not cities within cities, but anti-cities." - William H. Whyte

"The uptown slums are being demolished, but the rectangular tenements that replaced them have not a trace of invention. Their bleakness is absolute no man has ever dreamt of a city of such monotonous severity. And there must be some bond between our houses and our dreams." - John Cheever

"We wouldn't have any American economy without the automobile business. That's literally true. I believe that this is a great industry that has to go on and has to keep turning on out cars and trucks and buses, then there have to be places for them to run and places There have to be modern roads, modern [?]. And it order to get those things done properly, people have to be inconvenienced who are in the way." - Robert Moses

"We simply repeat that cities are created by and for traffic. A city without traffic is a ghost town." - Robert Moses
The Moses quotes precede actions that ruin cities, and this kind of thinking is still pervasive.

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