A couple weekends ago, Roberta Gratz was at the Hudson Opera House to talk about her new book, The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Her book is about the clashing visions of Jane Jacobs, who valued the existing fabric of the city and believed it should be nurtured, and Robert Moses, who believed in tearing things down and starting over. In her comments, Gratz held the policies of Robert Moses responsible for the "torn-apart, fallen city of the 1970s." She also observed that "the most successful neighborhoods [in New York City today] are those Moses did not eviscerate; the most troubled are those he did."
Gratz, who is great fan of our city and featured Hudson in her previous book Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown, noted that Hudson, like New York City, suffered from the Moses approach. She made the point that you can look at the housing projects in Hudson and figure out which year they were built and which HUD program funded them. Funding determined what we got. This is relevant to the conversation about Bliss Towers, for it seems we may once again be allowing federal funding to determine our city's future.
Gratz made some other points that have relevance to the decision about Bliss Towers. One of the presenters at the April meeting about Bliss Towers spoke of "de-densifying." On this topic, Gratz stated that "densification not de-densification is what revives cities." The stated goal of whatever is done with Bliss Towers is to make the project greener and more energy efficient. On the subject of "green," Gratz made the point that "the greenest building is the one already standing."