March 24, 2017


Amusing New York Times headline, July 22, 1948
Alterations to the Tudor City area in preparation for the opening of the U.N. were many, but one proposal ‒ widening Tudor City Place by reducing the width of the North and South Parks by 22 feet ‒ caused the loudest uproar.

The city claimed that the street widening was necessary for two reasons:
✽ Tudor City Place was too narrow for emergency vehicles to navigate.
✽ The planned Tudor City Bridge (replacing the 19th-century tunnel) required a wider street to accommodate its design.  
In response, a French Company-sponsored petition was circulated in the community, drawing hundreds of signatures. The petition outlined four reasons against the plan:
✽ Tudor City Place was not an official approach to the U.N., and thus needed no street widening. 
✽ The completed U.N. buildings would have no view of Tudor City Place, blocked by the height of the street's skyscrapers.
✽ Both parks were used extensively, and reducing the size of their footprint would lead to overcrowding. (Interesting sidebar: at this time, the South Park was reserved for adults only, while the North Park allowed adults and children). 
✽ A wider street would encourage cars and trucks to drive at greater speeds, endangering the lives of residents trying to cross the street to visit the parks.
The corner of Tudor City Place and E. 43rd Street, around 1949, with the narrowing of the parks in progress.  
In the end, the city won out, and the proposed street widening became reality. (An incidental benefit of the project was the addition of a sidewalk on the park side of the street that never existed before). The community took this defeat in its stride. Tudor City residents, never shy about voicing their opinions, continued to do, as we will see in coming posts.

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