moses’ child


I am what one might call a child of Robert Moses. While ‘the Power Broker’ (as Moses was christened by Robert Caro in his 1974 doorstop biography of the same name) completed some of his most ambitious projects in the 1940s and ’50s, my 1970s and ’80s were dominated by the fruits of his massive revisioning of New York City and its environs. There were the swimming lessons at Jones Beach, the long drive along the Southern State Parkway, interrupted only by humid cries for ice cream and toilet breaks. Then, after a schism in the family, the Long Island Expressway between Manhattan and Nassau County became a weekly reminder of why the road came to be called the world’s longest car park. Outdoor Shakespeare at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park punctuated my teenage summers. As an adult, shuttling between a job in San Francisco and a boyfriend in Morningside Heights, the Cross-Bronx Expressway was my bleary wake-up call after the red eye into La Guardia. Moses came to dominate large portions of my – and countless New Yorkers’ – experience of New York to such an extent that it is nearly impossible to imagine a version of the city before him.

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