Drive on the Empire State Plaza? The future then.

early ESP rendering from Craigslist

A cropped version. Here's the full version.

Today on Craigslist we stumbled across a listing for these great old renderings envisioning an auto-centric version of the Empire State Plaza. Here are easy-to-view versions: one, two, three, four, five, six.

There isn't a date listed for the renderings -- the Craigslist poster says he/she is looking for info about them (and accepting offers). We're guessing they're from the early to mid 50s (construction started in 1959). Check out how there are streets right on the plaza, running next to the agency buildings.

And this overview rendering gives a sense of the imagined context.

Earlier on AOA: The highway that was almost buried under Washington Park

photo: Craigslist item "Paintings of Empire State Plaza"

Comments

I'd love to be able to date this. It's tantalizingly close to the final design. They may have been thinking they needed to maintain some of the surface streets that were ultimately lost when the neighborhoods were torn down. Hawk Street used to continue directly across from the Capitol, where the mosaic is now, and there were smaller streets to the east.

I don't want to seem like a cool insider, but I've been to the Plaza. And two of the three vehicle lanes pictured there still exist. Or actually exist. However, you want to say it.

You may have a point, codemonkey -- maybe we're interpreting them as through streets and the cars are just decorative elements in the rendering of the ways that exist.

Yes, two out of the three streets do exists (curbs and everything) and are used by OGS to drive around the plaza. The public just can't get through the gates to drive on them. They are surfaced with brick rather than asphalt.

This reminds me of the 50's style pictures that Robert Moses envisioned for NYC and Long Island - I recall a picture of a family having a picnic on a highway medium

You used to be able to drive onto the plaza if you were dropping off your kids at the daycare center, and the Legislators used to drive to their underground parking area via the plaza. After 2001 it all changed.

I have a earlier rendering that still has the arch where the cultural education building stands

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