Posts Tagged ‘Lower Manhattan Expressway’

The highway that almost destroyed downtown

August 4, 2010

Soho? Never would have happened. Little Italy would be turned into a pile of bricks. And block after block along Delancey, Broome, Kenmare, and Spring Street would have met the wrecking ball as well.

But luckily, none of this happened, because the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway was met with relentless community opposition.

First proposed in 1928, LOMAX, as it was known, would have been an 8-lane elevated highway connecting the Holland Tunnel to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges via Broome Street.

The point was to link New Jersey to Long Island faster and more efficiently. “Master builder” Robert Moses pushed hard for it the early 1960s, claiming it would create much-needed city jobs.

But residents, led by urban activist Jane Jacobs, argued that it would displace thousands of families and signal the demise of entire historic neighborhoods.

Finally, in 1969, the city officially killed the plan.

Whatever happened to Verrazano Street?

January 28, 2009

Giovanni da Verrazzano (he spelled it with two z’s) already has a bridge named after him. But a West Village street also was set to take his name in the 1940s—except the city never got around to building it.

verrazanopicture Verrazano Street (with one z, for some reason) would have run from Seventh Avenue South to Sixth Avenue and Houston Street, slicing through bits of Downing, Bedford, and Carmine Streets.

It was supposed to be an entryway to the Lower Manhattan Expressway, a Robert Moses–proposed superhighway that would have connected the Holland Tunnel to The Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. 

The city was all set to build it; Verrazano Street even made it on to city maps in the ensuing years. But when the Lower Manhattan Expressway met fierce community opposition in the 1960s, the city abandoned the idea . . . and Verrazano Street as well, officially de-mapping it in 1969.