Never Built New York
From the authors of Never Built Los Angeles, this hidden history takes us on an exhilarating journey through an alternative New York
Following on the success of Never Built Los Angeles (Metropolis Books, 2013), authors Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell now turn their eye to New York City. New York towers among world capitals, but the city we know might have reached even more stellar heights, or burrowed into more destructive depths, had the ideas of its greatest dreamers progressed beyond the drawing board. What is wonderfully grand might easily have been ingloriously grandiose; equally, what is blandly unremarkable might have become delightfully provocative.
Nearly 200 proposals spanning 200 years encompass bridges, skyscrapers, master plans, parks, transit schemes, amusements, airports, plans to fill in rivers and extend Manhattan, and much, much more. Included are alternate visions for Central Park, Columbus Circle, Lincoln Center, MoMA, the UN, Grand Central Terminal, the World Trade Center site and other highlights such as: Alfred Ely Beach’s system of airtight subway cars propelled via atmospheric pressure; Frank Lloyd Wright’s last project, his Key Plan for Ellis Island, on which he would have developed his dream city; Buckminster Fuller’s design for Brooklyn’s Dodger Stadium, complete with giant geodesic dome to shield players and fans from the rain; developer William Zeckendorf’s Rooftop Airport, perched on steel columns 200 feet above street level, spanning from 24th to 71st Street, Ninth Avenue to the Hudson River; John Johansen’s Leapfrog City proposal to create an entirely new neighborhood atop the tenements of East Harlem; and Stephen Holl’s Bridge of Houses, offering options from SROs to modest studios to luxury apartments on a segment of what is now the High Line.
Fact-filled and entertaining texts, plus sketches, renderings, prints and models drawn from archives across the country tell stories of ideas that would have drastically transformed the way we inhabit and move through the city.