Read The Battle for Gotham Online

Authors: Roberta Brandes Gratz

Tags: #History, #United States, #20th Century

The Battle for Gotham

Table of Contents

 

ALSO BY ROBERTA BRANDES GRATZ

Title Page

Dedication

Epigraph

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction

 

Chapter 1 - THE WAY THINGS WERE

THE PUSH-PULL EFFECT
PUSHED TO LEAVE
SUBURBIA IN FORMATION
DEFINING PROGRESS
THE SHOCK OF THE NEW
SUBURBS ARE DIFFERENT
BACK TO NEW YORK FOR GOOD
THE NEWSPAPER
DIVERSITY IN THE CITY ROOM
THE LUCKY BREAK
PROMOTED TO REPORTER
THE APPEAL OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
THE 1960S
THE 1970S
FROM BAD TO WORSE
SMALL STEPS, BIG CHANGE
REBIRTH’S BEGINNINGS

 

Chapter 2 - LANDMARKS PRESERVATION

THE TIDE TURNED
PRESERVATION ACCELERATES CHANGE
A PROBLEM GROWS IN BROOKLYN
MOSES INCREASED MAYOR WAGNER’S PROBLEMS
A MOVEMENT GROWS
A LOT LEFT UNPROTECTED
PROTECTION CAME SLOWLY
THE MANHATTAN FOCUS
A WEST SIDE LANDMARK
THE LAW CHANGES, BUT THE COMMISSION DOESN’T
JACKIE KENNEDY ONASSIS MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
SIGNIFICANT LANDMARK BATTLES WERE MANY
TWEED COURTHOUSE: AN OLD CONTROVERSY
RAISING PRESERVATION AWARENESS AMONG STUDENTS

 

Chapter 3 - GREENWICH VILLAGE

THE STATE OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS
A DIFFERENT KIND OF CRIME
LITTLE ITALY TODAY
AS MUCH AS THINGS CHANGE . . .
STILL A WORLD APART
LANDMARK PROTECTION WORKS
THE PARK
THE MOSES ROAD
TRAFFIC DISAPPEARS
TIDE TURNING AGAINST CARS?
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
ENHANCING THE STREET, OR NOT
THE POE HOUSE CONTROVERSY
THE WEST VILLAGE
EIGHTH STREET
WEST VILLAGE HOUSES: KNOWN AS THE JANE JACOBS HOUSES
FARTHER WEST
JACOBS MAKES THE CASE AGAIN
THE EAST VILLAGE—ANOTHER WORLD

 

Chapter 4 - SOHO

THE DEATH-THREAT SYNDROME
THE EXPRESSWAY FIGHT
NEW AMENITIES PROMISED
ARREST
THE IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
EXPRESSWAY KILLED; SOHO EMERGED
INDUSTRIAL USES DISPLACED
CHANGING ART
JANE JACOBS VERSUS ROBERT MOSES
SOHO BROADENED THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION MOVEMENT
SOHO’S EXPORTS HELP REJUVENATE OTHER PLACES
ONE LAST STAND ON A NEW YORK CITY CONTROVERSY

 

Chapter 5 - RECONSIDERING ROBERT MOSES

THE PARK DEFENSE
HIS WAY OR NO WAY
THE URBAN RENEWAL BULLDOZER
THE HUMAN TOLL
LEARNING BY LISTENING
THE HUMAN TOLL
A REFORMER TO START
THE IMPACT OF THE WORLD’S FAIR
THE COUNTRY FOLLOWS MOSES
NEW ORLEANS
PORTLAND, OREGON
HARTFORD, BALTIMORE, DETROIT
PITTSBURGH
SAN FRANCISCO
MOSES LISTENED TO NO ONE
MOSES IS BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM TODAY
WHOSE URBAN VISION?
DENSITY IS NOT THE PROBLEM
THE SOCIAL AND PSYCHIC DIMENSION
THE RESURGENT CITY

 

Chapter 6 - THE FACTORY

MANUFACTURING: EVER CHANGING
THE CHANGING ART WORLD CHANGED US
THE INDUSTRIAL NETWORK IS COMPLEX
URBAN RENEWAL INTERFERES
TO LONG ISLAND CITY
INDUSTRIAL SPACE IS BEING NIBBLED AWAY
INDUSTRY NURTURED AND SUSTAINED NEW YORK
POSTWAR OPPORTUNITIES MISSED
FALSE GOD OF EFFICIENCY
LONG ISLAND CITY ESCAPES FOR A WHILE
THE PAST IS PAST
CREATIVE CONVERSIONS
TRUE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IS A RENEWABLE PROCESS
OFFICIAL LOGIC IS ELUSIVE

 

Chapter 7 - THE UPPER WEST SIDE

A NEW URBAN RENEWAL PARADIGM
THE ERA OF FEAR
URBAN RESETTLEMENT
THE WEST SIDE: THE HAPPENING PLACE
CATACLYSMIC CHANGE KICKS IN
THE LINCOLN CENTER MYTH
WEST SIDE STORY
THE REAL DRAW OF THE WEST SIDE
POSITIVE CHANGE, NEGATIVE CHANGE
DEFINING PROGRESS

 

Chapter 8 - WESTWAY

THE HEART OF THE ARGUMENT
FIGHTING CITY HALL
HIGHWAY AS CURE FOR DECAY
TIDE TURNING AGAINST CARS?
THE INTERNAL CONTRADICTION
PROPONENTS CHANGE THE ARGUMENT
NEW LAND PLUS PLANNED SHRINKAGE
MORE DIFFERENCES

 

Chapter 9 - BIG THINGS GET DONE

TRANSIT REINVESTMENT WAS HUGE
REINVESTMENT PAYS
SHOW ME THE MONEY
THE BIG DIG FACTOR
STEEL-WHEEL JOBS VERSUS RUBBER-TIRE JOBS
BEYOND TRANSIT: REGENERATION OR REPLACEMENT?
ORGANIC REGENERATION GETS A CHANCE
THE NEW PARK—BIG IS BIG
THE TRANSPORTATION DEBATE
VEHICULAR DOMINATION STILL PREVAILS
BIG PROJECTS DO GET DONE
GOVERNMENT CAN DO IT BIG AND WELL
LOW-DENSITY MISTAKES STILL HAPPEN IN A BIG WAY
MORE BIG THINGS GETTING DONE
DEFEAT WITH GOOD REASON

 

CONCLUSION

EPILOGUE

Appendix: - Jacobs’s Arrest in Her Own Words

Notes

Bibliography

Index

The Center for the Living City

Copyright Page

ALSO BY ROBERTA BRANDES GRATZ

The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way
(1989)
Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown
(1998)
A Frog, A Wooden House, A Stream and A Trail:
Ten Years of Community Revitalization in Central Europe
(2001)

For Jane

Never underestimate the power of a city to regenerate.
JANE JACOBS

Acknowledgments

I have always relied on various urban thinkers and observers to inform and challenge my own observations and ideas. For this book, I am similarly indebted to a wonderfully patient and generous group who enriched the substance of this book.

Until her death, Jane Jacobs was a critical sounding board. Ron Shiffman and Richard Rabinowitz have been key in both of my earlier books as well as this one. Mary Rowe has both challenged and encouraged the details of this book in the best tradition of Jane Jacobs. Anthony Mancini has been my first reader and essential critic for this, as well as the two prior books, often saving me from myself. Thomas Schwarz, another reader of both prior works, challenged an early iteration of this one that helped me rethink its direction. Victor Navasky, as well, offered insights at an early point that clarified and changed the direction I needed to follow.

Nancy Milford, Nancy Charney, Laurie Beckelman, Stephen Goldsmith, Sandra Morris, and Margie Ziedler have been nurturing friends critical to the writing process. I am indebted to Robert Caro for opening my eyes and the world’s eyes to the overarching power of Robert Moses.

I am enormously appreciative of Hamilton Fish, president of Nation Books, for being so ready and eager to publish this book and for turning me over to an extraordinary editor, Carl Bromley. Carl exemplifies the best qualities of an interested, caring, insightful, and nurturing editor whose comments and observations about all aspects of this text were most useful and constructive. I am similarly indebted to Basic Books publisher John Sherer for understanding what I planned to do and for being so interested in publishing this book. Annette Wenda, the copyeditor, Sandra Beris, the production editor, and Brent Wilcox, the compositor, artfully steered this manuscript to life.

Kent Barwick, Eddie Bautista, Marcy Benstock, Mary Beth Betts, Maya Borgenicht, John Bowles, Al Butzel, Joan Byron, Sarah Carroll, Majora Carter, Carol Clark, Joan Davidson, Mort Downey, Coco Eisman, Alexi Torres Flemming, Adam Friedman, Charles Gandee, Michael Gerrard, Francis Golden, Dennis Grubb, Bill Gratz, Isabel Hill, Abbie Hurlbutt, Lynda Kaplan, Jared Knowles, Lex Lalli, Peter Laurence, Corey Mintz, Norman Mintz, Forrest Myers, William Moody, Greg O’Connell, Marianne Percival, Bruce Rosen, Michael Rosen, David Rosencrans, Gene Russianoff, Don Rypkema, James Sanders, David Sweeny, Calvin Trillin, Joshua Velez, Mike Wallace, Anthony Wood, Elizabeth Yampierre. Others are mentioned throughout the book.

Sadly, my husband, Donald Stephen Gratz, did not live to see this publication. His ideas and influence, however, are woven throughout this text. I learned from him daily for many years and always appreciated his encouragement of my efforts. The legacy of his talent is reflected herein in the story of Gratz Industries.

My daughters—Laura Beth and Rebecca Susan—fabulous mothers, teachers, environmentalists, and preservationists—have always been most important in my life and now their children—Halina, Frank, Stella, Isaac, and Danielle—are a source of great pride and joy. I have no doubt they will all grow to be caring, productive citizens. My son-in-law, Jon Piasecki, an innovative landscape architect and committed environmentalist, is an additional source of pride.

Many people have let me know the value of my first two books and, I hope, they will find similar value here. They are the ones who will initiate the regeneration process wherever they live and work.

Preface

I was born and for the first decade of my life lived in Greenwich Village, the iconic urban neighborhood of crooked streets, historic buildings, diverse residents, and the occasional leafy, cobblestone street.

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