Lower East Side History Month is in full swing at locations throughout the neighborhood. One event that caught our eye is this — a special exhibition on Robert Moses’ ill-fated plan to create a Lower Manhattan Expressway. It’s a collaboration between Fourth Arts Block and miLES.
It’s a condensed version of the exhibition produced by the NYC Department of Records and Municipal Archives. The opening reception takes place tonight. Here’s more info from the press materials:
…In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses’ Expressway and the Battle for Downtown returns as part of Lower East Side (LES) History Month this May 9-15… (The) exhibit was first mounted in October 2015 and is a collaborative effort between NYC Department of Information and Services, the Below the Grid Lab, and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University. Robert Moses’ plan for: a 10-lane downtown expressway (Lower Manhattan Expressway or LOMEX) would have cut through Soho and Little Italy and would have invariably shaped the physical, socio-economic, and political landscape of the Lower East Side. A timely coincidence with Jane Jacobs 100 celebrations, In the Shadow of the Highway is an ever relevant reminder that amidst New York City’s inevitable cycles of “creative destruction,” our rich history of activism and civic engagement remain an important piece of the urban development pie. The exhibit invites you to dip into the past, not just to a physical moment but also a particular socio-political moment of agitation; idealized mock-ups and illustrations of the LOMEX’s potential imposition will sit alongside video testimonials from grassroot activists, a construction of imagined expressway, and a sound installation that re-enacts the 1962 Board of Estimate hearing that ultimately defeated the plan.
There are two free tours being offered in conjunction with the exhibit (tonight at 5 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 3:30 p.m.) Tonight’s opening reception takes place tonight at 6:30 p.m. at 103 Allen St. More info here.