By George Capsis
Robert Moses’ career ended when he wanted to build an elevated highway across Canal Street, and we locals rose in protest and closed his book forever, but in his early days when he was casually condemning bungalows in the path of the LIE he did so with imperial immunity because the car was king and Long Island was just scrub growth.
When the Federal government wanted to unroll a super highway right down the West Side over the clutter of old docks and a rusting elevated highway, we same protested said no—it was too insensitive to the clutter of old buildings that still made their way down to the river and we filed a lawsuit to protect the breeding ground of the striped bass (more valuable than bungalows ) and the Feds got so mad they took their billions and walked away, and then a budget-harassed City and State had to do something with all the piers they had bought in anticipation of West Way so they concocted a plan that would lease three of the larger piers to get revenue to operate the park.
About this time we started WestView News and learned what “RFP” stood for, Request For Proposal, as the city and state invited developers to give New York a new landmark. It never happened. They proposed aquariums, a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil and big box stores. No no, no—whoever was in charge of the park said no, no, no, to all and every proposal while the steel piles on the massive 14-acre Pier 40 rusted because somebody had shut off the anti-rust current to save money and now they have to spend millions or it goes plop into the water.
And now Diane Taylor, president of the park, who I have recently learned with a knowing smirk is a “friend” of Michael Bloomberg, has decided that Pier 40 should be a big fat office building surrounding the soccer field. They had to keep the athletic field because sports dads instantly lock into a hard, resistant mass when challenged. They even threw them a little more acreage to still their snapping jaws.
But, oh my a big fat 14-acre office building sitting on the Hudson looking down to the Statue of Liberty blocking our view for 3 blocks—not nice—not nice.
So how, you may ask, after 10 years, do we come up with a big fat office building as our contribution to the legend of Greenwich Village that will attract tourist buses of the future.
“On our left is a big fat office building that obstructs three blocks of river view…