T. Kennard Thomson’s plan have transformed New York? Well, as it stands today, NYC encompasses 469 square miles. Thomson wanted to add a full 50 square miles to that by infilling huge sections of naturally water-bound New York.
In the context of early modern New York, it wasn’t all that crazy. After all, the boundaries of Manhattan had been aggressively expanded since the arrival of Dutch colonists. Ellis Island is built on landfill, as is Battery Park City. During World War II, American naval ships brought back thousands of tons of rubble from English cities that ended up in the East River, serving as infill for FDR Drive.
But all of that pales in comparison to what Thomson, a clearly ambitious city planner and engineer, had in mind. ….