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February 3rd, 2010
The Next American System
[VIDEO] The Master Builder (1977)

”Those who can, build,” Robert Moses said. ”Those who can’t, criticize.” From the Public Television archives at THIRTEEN/ WNET in New York, an hour long interview from 1977 with Robert Moses, the “master builder” of modern day New York City. Moses, for 44 years — from 1924 until 1968 — held several appointive offices in New York State and once occupied 12 positions simultaneously, including that of New York City Parks Commissioner, head of the State Parks Council, head of the State Power Commission and chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.

Moses built highways, bridges, tunnels, parks, playgrounds, housing, beaches, zoos, civic centers, exhibition halls and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair — at a cost of $27 billion. In a city of mass transit, he surrounded it and divided it with highways — at the time, putting in more miles of highways than that of Los Angeles.

Only a bureaucrat — not an architect, a planner, a lawyer or a politician — he managed to change the physical environment of New York City and State. More than just New York, Moses set an example nationwide of how to build the American City of the 20th Century.

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