For hundreds of years, the shorefront of Manhattan served as the country’s center of trade, shipping, and commerce. It was a world of docks, ships, tugboats, ferries, and freight, as well as a place where millions of immigrants entered the Promised Land. The waterfront also presented the city with a monumental challenge: finding the necessary capital to build and expand the maritime infrastructure. In Waterfront Manhattan, Kurt C. Schlichting recounts the story of its initial construction by private interests, the takeover by the City of New York in the second half of the 19th century, the steady decline in the 20th century as containerization changed shipping patterns, and recent rebirth as parkland and luxury housing. Join us for a discussion of the struggle between public and private control of New York’s priceless asset.
Kurt C. Schlichting is the E. Gerald Corrigan ’63 Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences at Fairfield University, where he is a professor of sociology. He is the author of Grand Central’s Engineer: William J. Wilgus and the Planning of Modern Manhattan and Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Engineering, and Architecture in New York City.