Robert Moses Vs. Jane Jacobs: The Opera

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Robert Moses Vs. Jane Jacobs: The Opera

It’s the urban planning equivalent of Rinaldo. Except instead of the siege of Jerusalem, it’s the battle for Greenwich Village.

The legendary 1960s struggle pitted planning czar Robert Moses against neighborhood activist Jane Jacobs. Moses wanted to make the city easily navigable by car. During his reign, he displaced half a million people with highways. But the powerful planner met his match when he proposed an expressway through Lower Manhattan. Though she had little institutional support, Jacobs built a citizen coalition that ultimately defeated Moses.

The opera will be composed by Judd Greenstein. Greenstein was inspired by the 2011 Plan of the City, an animated short created with Joshua Frankel. In the film, Manhattan’s famous architecture is blasted off into Mars.

Frankel has already agreed to direct the show. The duo grew up in New York, and each has a personal connection to the neighborhoods impacted by the historic battle.