At the same time as the Manhattanville debate is increasingly becoming polarized, Columbia is at the center of another controversy concerning urban planning. This time, the subject is the historical legacy of Robert Moses, who earned his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1914. Moses was responsible for the construction of many of New York City’s highways, skyscrapers, and parks as well as the disruption and sometimes destruction of the neighborhoods previously occupying the space. Columbia professors Hilary Ballon and Kenneth T. Jackson, who recently co-edited a book on Moses, are both involved in a three-part exhibit reexamining his legacy, which has up until now been largely defined by an anti-Moses book, The Power Broker. Robert. A Caro, the book’s author, is quoted in yet-to-be-released articles by both the New York Times and New York Observer as arguing for his interpretation over Ballon and Jackson’s, which is more in Moses’s favor.
The third part of the exhibit, “Slum Clearance and the Superblock Solution,” is set to open here at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery (8th floor Schermerhorn) next Tuesday, January 30th. The other portions, held in the Museum of the City of New York and the Queens Art Museum, open this coming Friday and Saturday, respectively. Further Bwog coverage to follow.