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Greg Goldin

Forgotten Futures and Abandoned Ambitions: How the "Never Built" Franchise Took New York

10:30 - 3 February, 2017
Paul Rudolph's City Corridor design, commissioned in 1967 in response to Robert Moses' failed Lower Manhattan Expressway. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books
Paul Rudolph's City Corridor design, commissioned in 1967 in response to Robert Moses' failed Lower Manhattan Expressway. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books

In 2013 former Los Angeles Magazine architecture critic Greg Goldin and journalist Sam Lubell co-wrote and co-curated Never Built Los Angeles. The acclaimed book and accompanying exhibit at the Architecture and Design Museum of LA celebrated hundreds of projects that never quite reached fruition. Following its success, the duo published a second installment: Never Built New York. Having just sold out of its first pressing, the book has garnered similar praise as its predecessor. Goldin and Lubell are currently planning an accompanying exhibit at New York’s Queens Museum that will debut this fall. Fresh off their NYC book tour, I sat down with Mr. Goldin to discuss his latest book and the future of Never Built.

Thomas Musca: You’ve been able to snag two high-profile architects to write the foreword for each book: Thom Mayne for Never Built LA and Daniel Libeskind for Never Built NY. Why do you think they’re so willing to help? Why are they so interested in the unbuilt?

Greg Goldin: I think architects feel that a lot of the work they do is the stuff that we would describe as "on paper." It’s not something that got realized. So, I think that there’s a natural sympathy for this subject matter in general. We didn’t have to convince anyone: "Oh, overcome your worst fears, you’re going to be included in this book that is consigning you to the dung heap of history." I don’t think anybody ever felt that way. I think that they feel like these are things that they don’t want to see just disappear into the archives. There’s a sympathy that already exists. Sam and I knew Thom Mayne and we thought Thom would be good for this and he just said yes. The same is true with Daniel Libeskind. Our editor, Diana Murphy, is friends with him. We felt fortunate because he has an amazingly positive attitude for a guy who’s been batted about by how things work in the real world of trying to get stuff built. You can have the dream project, Freedom Tower, and get ground down by it. But Daniel, bless his heart, is kind of upbeat about the whole thing, and that comes across in what he had to say in the foreword.

Victor Gruen’s Welfare Island proposal for Roosevelt Island, designed in 1961. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books Norman Bel Geddes + R. Buckminster Fuller’s proposal for the Dodger Dome, designed in 1955. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books Santiago Calatrava's 2003 proposal for the 80 South Street Tower. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books Frank Lloyd Wright’s Key Project for Ellis Island, proposed in 1959. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books + 14

"Never Built New York" Explores the Forgotten Past and the Future that Never Was

10:30 - 29 November, 2016
Raymond Hood Skyscraper Bridge. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books
Raymond Hood Skyscraper Bridge. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Books

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "An Incredible Journey into the New York City that Never Was."

Imagine the waters surrounding the Statue of Liberty were filled up with land. That you could walk right up to Lady Liberty herself, following a path from Manhattan’s Battery Park. Believe it or not, in 1911, this could have been.

In Never Built New York, authors Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell (foreword by Daniel Libeskind) describe with irony, and sometimes nostalgia, the most significant architectural and planning projects of the last century, projects that would have drastically changed the city—but never did.