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New York RecenteredBuilding the Metropolis from the Shore$
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Kara Murphy Schlichting

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226613024

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226613161.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Laying Out the Trans-Harlem City

Laying Out the Trans-Harlem City

(p.48) 2 Laying Out the Trans-Harlem City
New York Recentered

Kara Murphy Schlichting

University of Chicago Press

City officials and boosters fit urban systems of parks, streets, sewerage, and shipping channels to the spaces of New York’s mainland borderland, now known as the South Bronx. This chapter tells the late-nineteenth-century history of annexation and large-scale municipal plans for the borderland around the Harlem River. In 1865, park commissioner Andrew Haswell Green first articulated this idea that the city’s potential lay in the comprehensive planning of the territory along the Harlem. New York annexed the territory north of the Harlem from Westchester in two sections in 1874 and 1895, the future Bronx. Green’s Manhattan-based Board of Commissioners of Central Park proposed the first plans for the territory, but in the 1880s local boosters secured home-rule street and park planning. The pro-growth political agenda that drove both levels of public works also informed planners’ approach to nature. Green advocated for planning and expanded political boundaries that took account of the environment of the edge: its tidal patterns, drainage systems, and topography. The Harlem River borderlands fostered an expansionist perspective based on environmental and topographic boundaries, setting the parameters for subsequent large-scale environmental reclamation projects that would come to characterize the coastal corridor.

Keywords:   The Bronx, Harlem River, home rule, park planning, street planning, Board of Commissioners of Central Park, Andrew Haswell Green

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