#MapMondays – Mid-Manhattan Expressway
Can you imagine a 100-foot tall, 160-foot wide expressway going straight through Midtown? Or even crazier, going through the 7th floor of the Empire State Building, just so Robert Moses and his Long Island buddies could quickly get from Long Island to New Jersey without having to worry about seeing the local riff-raff or someone offering to clean their windows at a Midtown traffic light?!?!
The image on the right shows a rendering of the Mid-Manhattan Expressway looking east, circa 1950. The tunnel would connect the newly completed Queens-Midtown Tunnel with the West Side Highway and under construction Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey. The first plan for a cross-Midtown Expressway was in the form of three tunnels, one at 36th Street for eastbound traffic, one at 38th for westbound, and a third tube for local traffic along with an underground terminal for buses and taxis. In 1946 Robert Moses released a new plan for a 100-foot-tall elevated highway tunneling directly through the Empire State Building's 6th or 7th floor!
By 1950 the federal government had agreed to pay for a 160-foot-wide elevated interstate expressway (designated i-495) that would result in tearing down all the buildings lining the south side of 30th Street. Moses would eventually pull his support for the project due to protests and focus on his Lower Manhattan Expressway.