As Boozy so entertainingly informed us, Le Corbusier’s vision for a city was the Radiant City, of rows of identical buildings and skyscrapers separated by parkland. Robert Moses’ vision for the city included wide expressways (which eventually became choked with traffic) cutting across boulevards of urban renewal style projects. And Jane Jacobs famously extolled the chaotic streets where children played, adults walked and shopped, and residential and commercial activities blended together.
Entering Manhattan across the Manhattan Bridge we pass examples of each of these visions. Approaching the island we see the East River waterfront, where the FDR Drive, begun under Moses, separates the river from the projects of Corlears Hook, built by Moses. Passing the projects, bland and identical, with empty greenery between, we see an image of Corbusier’s vision come to life. And finally, once we reach far enough into the interior of Chinatown where Moses’ bulldozers never reached, the streets are pulsing with chaotic energy, full of people and life and activity, in the way that Jacobs recognized as the greatest height of city life.
Below are pictures of each of the three.