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1950s: Robert Moses Lies, Williamsburg Children Die
"Power broker" Robert Moses had a dream of relieving the congestion that plagued the streets of Brooklyn and Queens. This dream involved building the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Moses made this dream a reality and there was never any traffic in Brooklyn or Queens forever after!
Oh, right. That's not what happened at all! Moses did, of course, get to construct his pet project but in doing so, he might have stretched the truth just a LITTLE bit. For example, Moses promised that the Expressway would follow the shoreline and have as minimal an impact as possible on existing neighborhoods. Well, that might have been what happened in wealthy neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, but more working-class, immigrant-heavy 'hoods like Williamsburg and Red Hook got torn asunder. And, in 1956, there was a terrible construction accident in Williamsburg where nine children were trapped under a mound of dirt at a construction site, six of whom died. Slow clap, Robert Moses, slow clap. At least there's no more traffic, right?
Toby Sanchez put it best in his 1989 book, "Williamsburg: A Neighborhood Profile" when he called the BQE "a monument to the disdain of a community."