The New Jane Jacobs vs. the New Robert Moses?


New York Magazine talks to Majora Carter:

Janelle Nanos: Part of Moses’s legacy is the idea that to get anything done in the city, it needs to be done by fiat. Do you see that happening again now?

Majora Carter:
Absolutely. Partially, it’s a coliseum mentality, that it has to be big or it doesn’t matter. The problem with the big projects of Moses and now Doctoroff is that they don’t think about what the long-term impacts are of exercising that much power on people who have none. It’s the idea that people are in the way.

Nanos: It’s interesting that you group Doctoroff and Moses together. Do you think the deputy mayor sees himself as the new Moses?

Oh, God, yeah. Completely. He thinks he’s the man.

But the deputy mayor disagreed during his sit down with the New York Observer:

I don’t think that any comparison between the period that Moses was active and today is really that relevant. The biggest difference is the need for community input.

With very few exceptions, we have really made an effort to reach out to local communities and understand their needs. Moses was a believer that it was experts who were able to divine what was best for the community or the city on the whole.
  • mfs

    The downside of a strong real-estate market is that people have been priced out of neighborhoods, old mom-and-pop shops closed. There was even a “Talk of the Town” piece in The New Yorker recently about how New Yorkers believe their city is changing too fast.

    Doctoroff: I honestly don’t hear that often…

  • rhubarbpie

    I think we’re all familiar with the kind of “community consultation” that Deputy Mayor Doctoroff typically engages in. First, there’s a decision to bring in a major project, construct an unneeded statium, upsize zoning. Then, the community is “consulted” with an eye toward buying off some folks, usually by misrepresenting the facts completely. Then the rest of the neighborhood’s residents are ignored and, ideally, crushed. The only difference between Robert Moses and Dan Doctoroff is that Doctoroff has learned from Moses’s later mistakes and attempts to be consumer-friendly. A dangerous official.

  • someguy

    Exactly. The public consultation is a rubber stamp, just like the CEQR (EIS) process, after a developer-driven project has been adopted by the city. That’s what counts as public involvement/consultation these days – hearings to hear people’s opinions and then ignore them and move on. So, the logical next question is, are people who claim that these McNewYork projects have community input like Doctoroff, Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz:
    1) pathetically detached,
    2) hopelessly delusional, or
    3) blatantly lying?

  • 11211

    Great comments guys. We have to keep on the heat. A lot of these guys are banking their political future on their ability to package themselves as builders who supported the community when that is not the case. Carrion should be added to someguy’s list of people who are either pathetically detached, hopelessly delusional or blatantly lying. He’s even worse that Marko.

  • Majora Carter’s performance at Moses rehabilitation panel at the Museum of the City of NY on FEB 1 was so hotly recieved that the Museum has given her a solo presentation on MARCH 15, 6:30 PM, $9; reserve tickets at

    Please come out to support her, learn about what she has going on, and give her your ideas on how to thwart what we don’t need, and let this city work.


Exhibition Opening Symposium: Lessons From Robert Moses

Forty years after the reign of Robert Moses, key city players consider urbanism in the 21st century and set out their vision for the future. Topics to be addressed include regional planning, open space initiatives, transportation, sustainable development, and New York’s role as an international city. James S. Russel, the architecture critic for Bloomberg, will […]

Majora Carter: Communities as Assets, Not Omelets

Robert Moses said, "You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs." So, who ordered the omelet? Big projects promise big returns, but may disproportionately benefit the well-connected. Are the economic fibers that connect communities undermined as a result? In a provocative lecture, Majora Carter, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, will discuss the implications of […]

PlaNYC 2030 Project “Tearing Things Up” at City Hall

A tipster tells us of a particularly vigorous screaming match in City Hall last week between Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and a career civil servant who must remain nameless. "You wouldn’t know it from outside appearances," the tipster says, "but the 2030 Project is really tearing things up inside City Hall right now. It’s a […]

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff: Bike Commuter

Adrianne Pasquarelli profiles New Yorkers who commute by bicycle for Crain’s New York. You have to subscribe to read the entire article, but here she introduces Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, cyclist: Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave bike commuting a boost with PlaNYC 2030, his administration’s blueprint for sustainability. It calls for 1,380 additional miles of bike […]

From a Sea of Green, Bloomberg Works a Tough Room

Flanked by dozens, if not hundreds, of citizen spectators in bright green "I Breathe and I Vote" t-shirts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city staffers this morning made the case for a three-year congestion pricing pilot program to a largely hostile cadre of state Assembly members. Seated alongside ten colleagues in the auditorium of the New […]