The early years of the sewage treatment plant under Riverbank State Park at least has a guard booth. Well, it was a different world in the mid-20th century. As you probably have noticed over the years, there are no longer any docking facilities at the foot of 96th street and the Hudson River. Robert Moses took all of this away, he cut off the river from the citizens of the west side by improving it with one of his beloved highways. He did, however create more Riverside Park for the citizens of New York City. Once Mr. Moses received the financing for this project from the W.P.A, he became a hero in the eyes of a large number of unemployed construction workers as this was a large scale, big budget project. Some say this park is emblematic of the racism inherit with Robert Moses – the park basically ends at 125th street. While I do not argue that Mr. Moses was not a racist (and potentially more damaging than any one group had ever been in this town) the natural landscape, the plateau that is Morningside Heights, drops off there, just north of Grants Tomb. In addition, the street we call 125th street by the Hudson river was already developed industrially by the mid 19th century (the Tiemann Paint factory for example) with the growth of Manhattanville. Natural topography and this community separated the park south of 125th and the park north of 135th.
January 9, 2014