The Anti-Robert Moses

<em>Esquire</em> profiles New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, highlighting her impact on the city's public spaces.
November 26, 2010, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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By comparing her work to the history of development in the city, Janette Sadik-Khan is positioned as the anti-Robert Moses.

"[F]or the next half century, the building stopped as the city licked its concrete wounds. The roads went cold and quiet. No asphalt was poured, no tunnels dug, no streets reimagined. Instead, the thrum of panicked building was replaced by a system of smug gridlock. Bureaucracy as far as the eye could see, red tape longer than purgatory. The city awoke every morning grappling out of quicksand, dead set, it seemed, on maintaining past inconveniences.

Until one day about five decades after Robert Moses was dethroned, another prophet was anointed. One who wore silk dresses.

She looked nicer than Moses, and she had a new way of doing things - using facts and numbers the way he had used will and force. She seemed gentler, too, but she imposed her way almost as much. And whether or not the new officials and the new villagers agreed with her, the intestines of New York City began to quickly unravel once again."

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Published on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 in Esquire
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