Five Urban Proposals That Weren’t 

Illustration by Robert Burch

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1. West Side Highway Goes Underground,
1995
Unimpeded parkland all the way down to the river between 59th Street and 72nd Street? More green, less traffic? What a stupid, stupid idea. The day the island of Manhattan isn’t entirely girded by the highways of Robert Moses is the day we move to Pittsburgh.

2. The West Side Stadium, 2005
Tailgating in Times Square, anyone? Nope, it just wasn’t meant to be… But there’s always the dream of a NASCAR track on Staten Island!

3. The Lower-Manhattan Expressway, 1962
Wow. Imagine it: Robert Moses’ giant, loud, eight-lane beast of an elevated highway slouching its way across our beloved SoHo… forget about the artistic explosion of the 1970s and 80s… forget about the commercial explosion of the 1990s… forget about the glorified galleria for Eurotrash of the 2000s… Thank you, Jane Jacobs.

4. Buffalo Field at Ground Zero, 2003
In a 2003 cinematic collaboration between Richard Linklater and Speed Levitch, Mr. Levitch suggested that instead of skyscrapers and consensitized memorials, Ground Zero be converted into a 16-acre park filled with roaming buffalo. We love this idea. Is there still time to submit?

5. The Olympic Village Housing Project, 2005
Ecstatic visions of beach volleyball in Brooklyn, eight-man sculling in Queens, and crippling debt for a generation were cruelly dashed on July 6, 2005 when the International Olympic Committee gave the 2012 Olympiad to London, effectively putting an end to all development on the East River. Ha! Just kidding.

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