Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York: The Last Two Hundred Years

By Benjamin Miller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Ports and Airports

As he bustled about moving refuse in the Corona Meadows to get his road built in time for the fair, leveling a lump of ashes here, using the material to fill a depression there, Robert Moses often bumped into the man who was building an airport out of refuse at the old North Beach amusement park next door. William Francis Carey, the burly president of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, was the kind of man's man sportswriters adore. He lived hard, but spent easily. He read voraciously, yet loved boxing, a good cigar, and Dixieland jazz. Square-jawed, immaculately dressed, he was capable of throwing a world-champion wrestler on a five-dollar bet, or of taking a marshal come to arrest him on trumped-up charges out to lunch first. Even Moses—who outside of his old mentor, Al Smith, never expressed unqualified admiration for any contemporary—was clearly beguiled by Carey's mixture of competence, charisma, and gentle, good-humored machismo.

One of the things Moses found most amazing about Carey's airport operation was Carey's confidence that he could use garbage fill as a stable foundation for heavy construction. But he had to admit that Carey's self-confidence was well earned. Born in the little town of Hoosier Falls, New York, he had set off for Colorado at the age of sixteen to join a railroad construction gang. At twenty-two, he went to Panama to become a section hand on the Canal; three years later, he was the steam-shovel supervisor in charge of its Culebra cut, at the time the largest excavation on earth. From there he went on to build canals and railroads in Bolivia, China, Canada, and the United States, and with the companies he built or ran (he was simultaneously president of the Kennedy & Carey Construction Company and the William F. Carey Corporation, and first vice president of the International Cement and Southern Phosphate corporations) to mine coal, phosphates, and cement, and to build buildings and dams throughout North and South America. When he and two fellow ferry commuters from Long Island's North Shore thought of

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Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York: The Last Two Hundred Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Fat of the Land - Garbage in New York the Last Two Hundred Years *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Prologue Garbarge *
  • Part I - Engineering Reform *
  • Chapter 1 - The Greatest Happiness *
  • Chapter 2 - Grease *
  • Part II - Expanding Opportunities *
  • Chapter 3 - Friends *
  • Chapter 4 - Enemies *
  • Part III - Public Work *
  • Chapter 5 - Roads and Rails *
  • Chapter 6 - Bridges and Tunnels *
  • Chapter 7 - Parks and Parkways *
  • Chapter 8 - Ports and Airports *
  • Part IV - Landscape Sculpture *
  • Chapter 9 - Citizens and Scientists *
  • Chapter 10 - Taking Heat *
  • Chapter 11 - Two Paths *
  • Chapter 12 - Waste Management *
  • Chapter 13 - Hauling Biomass *
  • Epilogue - Pee-Yew Choo Choo *
  • Notes *
  • Illustration Credits *
  • Index *
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