“At first glance, a project to reclaim 50 square miles of land from New York Bay, to add 100 miles of new waterfront for docks, to fill in the East River, and to prepare New York for a population of 20 million seems somewhat stupendous, does it not?”
That’s the lead sentence in a fascinating article published in Popular Science in 1916, written with great enthusiasm by an engineer, Dr. T. Kennard Thomson.
Thomson had big dreams for New York City, and he laid them out in this article—his vision of making Greater New York a “Really Greater New York.”
The craziest idea? To turn the East River into a landfill extension of Manhattan, so “it would not be much harder to get to Brooklyn than to cross Broadway.” A new East River from Flushing Bay to Jamaica Bay would then be built.
Also nuts is the plan to lengthen Lower Manhattan so it just about touches Staten Island, and rework the Harlem River so it extends in a straight line from Hell Gate to the Hudson.
“Imagine the value of this new land for docks, warehouses, and business blocks! The tax assessments alone would make a fortune!” Thomson writes.
But like moving sidewalks, a West Side airport, and 100-story housing developments in Harlem, and an even weirder 1934 plan to fill in the Hudson River, this is another bizarre plan for the city that never came to pass.
[Images: Popular Science]