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Transportation and RevoltPigeons, Mules, Canals, and the Vanishing Geographies of Subversive Mobility$
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Jacob Shell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029339

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029339.001.0001

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The Replanning of Freight Flows in New York City

(p.113) 4 Chenangoes
Transportation and Revolt

Jacob Shell

The MIT Press

The preceding chapters of the book are primarily focused on rural or inter-urban transportation. This final chapter suggests that, at least in some places, top-down fears of patterns of subversive mobility have also shaped transportation investments within cities. To make this case, the chapter uses the example of New York City. The chapter argues that elite refusals to invest in New York City’s freight infrastructure during the 1920s must be understood in the political context of the German sabotages and Red Scare of the 1910s. The memoirs of the city’s bomb squad captain during the 1910s indicate a local official perception that the inner city’s primary methods and spaces for freight-handling—the lighter-boats of New York Harbor, the city’s riverfront piers, and the adjacent urban complex of factories which made use of this local freight transport network—were being utilized by politically subversive parties. Ultimately, elite refusals to modernize the inner city’s freight-handling facilities helped to undermine New York City’s strength as a manufacturing center.

Keywords:   Planning of New York City, Urban Transportation, Urban De-industrialization, Anarchists, German Saboteurs, Regional Plan of New York, Port of New York Authority

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