Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is Pamela Geller Today's Jane Jacobs?

This TV appearance by Ground Zero Mosque opponent reminded me somehow of the story of of Jane Jacobs, a middle-aged Jewish lady who lived in New York, the author of The Death and Life of American Cities, a severe critic of the US government's "urban renewal" programs. She took on "Power Broker" and "Master Builder" Robert Moses, and rallied opposition to stop his planned Lower Manhattan Expressway in the 1960s--a project that would have put a freeway through Greenwich Village, had it been built.

Every establishment institution, plus New York City's construction and real estate industry, had been on Moses' side at the time.

Nevertheless, Jacobs rallied public opinion to kill the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

It was never built.

Like Jacobs, Geller is an author as well as an activist.

Like Jacobs, she is taking on New York City's powers-that-be over an unpopular and ill-advised construction project planned for lower Manhattan.

Like Jacobs, she stands a good chance of success.