“To show power truly you not only have to show how it is used but also the effect on those on whom it is used. You have to show the effect of power on the powerless.”  — Robert A. Caro 
power broker.gifAs Ari wrote, urbanity itself took a hit this past week with the passing of Jane Jacobs. Her writing is certainly a critical perspective on how not to rebuild cities.
But one story of her own life is possibly the greatest tale of David and Goliath in American urban history.
Once there was a godless Yekke named Robert Moses.  He had the power.  All of it. Mayors and governors dared not stand up to him.  Even as president, FDR, who hated the bastard, could not block his continued amassment of power, which he sought to curb for damned good reason.  
And then things got much worse.  At his peak, he held twelve city and state executive positions concurrently, none of them elected.  When you have twelve concurrent positions, you have a lot of friends, because you are in charge of allotting contracts, permits, and lots and lots of money. 
So Robert Moses did what he wanted, which was to build roads and road and more roads, lots of slums and schlock, and prevent public transportation at all cost.  That’s why no new lines were added to the subway.  For decades. 
Fortunately, he only would bulldoze those neighborhoods he considered slums. Unfortunately for tenants, “slum” was defined by being in the way of his planned road.
He usually got his way.  Pretty much always.  Until his slum clearance for Broome street, through the “depressed” neighborhoods of Soho, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side.
But a heroine named Jane Jacobs mobilized the neighborhoods, faced him down, and successfully led an uprising to transforming Manhattan into a city around the automobile.
For those of you who don’t have time to read the book, I invite you to watch chapter seven of New York: A Documentary Film by Ric Burns. 
For those of you who want to read the book, I would refer you to the masterpiece about Robert Moses by Robert Caro, The Power Broker.
There is only one problem.  Jane Jacobs’ story is not there, though it was written, and certainly well written.  Better than anyone will ever be able to write it, since even if there was another as talented as Dr. Caro interested in this story, many of the primary contacts are gone. 
Dr. Caro was a young writer at the time, and this was before he was recognized as an eminent biographer. 
According to his assistant, Randal Tracy, Dr. Caro had to cut a third of his book in order to get it down to its skeletal size of a mere 1162 pages, excluding notes and references.
Among that which was cut was the story of the Lower Manhattan Expressway and Jane Jacobs, and her fight against “Mr. Moses” as she would call him.
The research was done.  The story needs to be told in its entirety.
We are the people of the book, and Dr. Caro is a member of our community, and is certainly aware of the importance of his book, and the sections which were cut. 
I suspect that if we would plead our case strongly enough, he will probably agree to eventually release a full edition of The Power Broker.
It seems proper that the Jewish community demand that he do so.