We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
While he was not considered a generally 'good' mayor, Robert Van Wyck certainly is an integral part of the city. I've taken the Van Wyck Expressway many times, but I've never wondered who Van Wyck actually was.
A Tammany operative, his scandals eventually cost the group power. Robert was the first mayor elected after the consolidation of the five boroughs.
On Valentine's Day 1899, he signed a law renaming Western Boulevard. Western ran north of Columbus Circle, and his law changed its name to Broadway, thereby extending the famous thoroughfare. Today, Broadway runs all the way north on the west side, then turns east at Inwood toward the Spuyten Duyvil, across into The Bronx, and up into Yonkers (where it becomes South Broadway). At 178th Street, it becomes Route 9.
Robert A. Van Wyck (1849-1918) was born in New York City and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1889. In 1897, Van Wyck became the first mayor of Greater New York after the consolidation of the five boroughs in 1898. During his term in office, Van Wyck renamed Western Boulevard north of Columbus Circle “Broadway” in 1899, extending one of Manhattan’s most famous streets. On March 24, 1900, Mayor Van Wyck began another New York institution by breaking ground in front of City Hall for the city’s first subway.
An expressway bearing Van Wyck’s name was built to connect John F. Kennedy, then Idlewild, Airport to several of the main east-west thoroughfares that run through Queens. Initial construction of the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) was completed in 1950, and the road was officially opened on October 14 of that year. The construction of the Van Wyck Expressway required the impressive engineering feat of elevating the Long Island Rail Road switching yards and terminal in Jamaica, Queens (at 1,100 trains a day one of the busiest railroad junctions in the world), up into the air to allow for construction of the roadway underneath