Many credit Robert Moses as the man responsible for the layout of New York City, and now his fascinating story is being told in the form of a new graphic novel by writer Pierre Christin and artist Olivier Balez. “Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City” paints Moses' controversial legacy with a dramatic flair. Drawn in a retro style using a rust color palette, the anti-hero comic both celebrates and criticizes the way this power player influenced the design of New York City - from its beaches and parks to more unfavorable projects like the highways he proposed.
Published by Nobrow, “The Master Builder of New York City” gives factual insight into the incredible hold Moses had on the development of the city beginning as early as in the 1920s. Christin and Balez give Moses the Batman treatment, drawing New York in a style that evokes Gotham City, and comparing Moses’ lair on Randall’s Island to Bruce Wayne’s secret hideout. The story follows the power player as he held up to twelve New York City offices at once, like Parks Commissioner and Tunnel Authority chair, giving him control to shape the city at will.
Some of Moses’ projects helped make New York City connected and convenient, like Jones Beach, The Triboro Bridge, Astoria Pool and McCarren Park. Each work enriched life in the five boroughs, adding parks and public space, as well as giving easy access from one borough to the next. The book also tackles poorly planned projects, like the proposed highway Moses wanted to intersect Washington Square Park.
If you’re looking for insight into how our city came to be the way it is today, “Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City” is a fun and easily digestible way to get it.