InstaBlog: "The Apartments"

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

These buildings, metonymically known as "The Apartments," are locally infamous to New York drivers. Located above the Trans Manhattan Expressway (I-95) on the approach to the George Washington Bridge, they are a perfect visual marker to mark the pace of the interminable traffic to and from New Jersey.

The expressway itself was carved out of Washington Heights in the very early 1960s, gouging a trench between 178th & 179ths Streets. In an early attempt to appease the growing anti-expressway crowd, however—not to mention in an act of “urban renewal” hubris to show they could build the city of the future—the planners of the era decked the highway as much as they believed they could. This included building the George Washington Bridge Bus Station and these four buildings, which represented the first time air rights above an expressway had been sold.

The final result is, to be clear better than most urban expressways—although that is a textbook example of damning with faint praise. Traffic and traffic noise is constant, as is pollution from the trenches, which give a bird’s eye view of 12 of the busiest highway lanes on the planet. Architecturally, the buildings themselves create a fascinating, almost dystopian vision. Their harsh exteriors, stained by decades of exhaust fumes, mixed with the plethora of antennas, windows, fans, and air conditioners shooting high into the sky makes for a very cyberpunk-esque view.

The life of the city goes on, but the sight of people having to live and walk so close to this mess of traffic is always a sad one.

Based on an Instagram post.
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