Thursday, March 01, 2007

Some Thoughts about Manhattan's West Side

The Armory Show ( which was not in an Armory ) put me in an area I haven't been in while and got me thinking about recent development of the West Side. So I decided to republish an old post I did that seems to fit in.

I ended up in a discusion on another blog about the relationship of highways to cities. In so many cities this relationship is an unstable and abusive one, but are there alternatives to it? New York once had a major highway on the west side of Manhattan and the tale of it's birth, death and future is a great one.

This was a highway that seemed to pretty much everyone to be an absolute necessity and in fact, a much larger replacement was planned. Then over a period of years it just kind of fell apart. The rather amazing rebirth of the West Side of Manhattan and the way that the city has adjusted to this change is someting to study.

Many cities have this type of highway, a by product partly of a time period when, for a variety of reasons, waterfront property was considered the place to thread ugly roads and needed infrastructure. The damage and cost of these roads started to become more clear as cleaner waterways and the movement of industrial uses out of central cities opened up the water as a valued asset. I think that part of Boston's (Big Dig fiasco) was an attempt to fix that type of highway by burying the road. The story isn't over, but the energy and oportunity that seems to have been opened up for NY by the collapse of that road has helped to reveal it's true cost. Heres a link to the Trump project on the way and here is the dreaded road as it is now in Chelsea.

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