From the B&T Archive: The Robert Moses Building
Robert Moses is one of New York's most iconic figures. Moses left his mark throughout the metropolitan area, but one piece of history located on Randalls Island seems to fly under the radar: the Robert Moses Building, constructed in 1937.
The Robert Moses Building, originally simply called "the Administration Building," was built next to what was then the Triborough Bridge (now the Robert F. Kennedy) on Randall's Island in 1937. The small limestone building was meant to be the center of operations for the bridge but it soon became a major base of operations for the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and its former Chairman, Robert Moses.
The Manhattan toll plaza was originally adjacent to the building. An enclosed walkway bridge led directly to a row of toll booths flanked by art deco towers, one of which is seen in the first photo.
When the bridge's traffic junction on Randall's Island was expanded in 1969 to handle increased traffic, the Manhattan toll plaza was moved west and the Bronx toll plaza was moved south of its original location. The number of toll booths was more than tripled during this expansion and the tall, stately art deco towers were demolished.
The architect of the 1937 building, Aymar Embury II, was on Chief Engineer Othmar Ammann's team for many projects including the Triborough and Bronx-Whitestone Bridges.
Later additions to the old Administration Building included a large room added in 1966 to display Moses' many models, artist renderings, maps and charts. These included models of some of Moses' most famous never-built projects, including the Mid-Manhattan Expressway, the Brooklyn Battery Bridge and the Long Island Sound Crossing.
After Moses retired, the model room was turned into office space and the models were moved to various locations, including storage space beneath the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge roadway. The models were moved from the dank storage area beneath the bridge in the late 1980s and are housed in MTA Bridges and Tunnels' Special Archive at 2 Broadway.
The Administration Building on Randall's Island was renamed the Robert Moses Building in 1989 to honor the former Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Chairman.
Photos are exclusive property of MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive and cannot be used without permission.
Photographer: Richard Averill Smith. Circa 1937.
Photographer: Fairchild Aerial Surveys Inc. N. Y. C. Circa 1940.
Photographer unknown Circa 1936.