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Rae, Capt. Edwin C. | Ratensky, Lt. Samuel | Reeds, James A.

Ratensky, Lt. Samuel  

Lieutenant, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer

Ratensky served with the MFAA as part of the Office of Military Government for Land Great Hesse, and was a signatory of the Wiesbaden Manifesto, a document that opposed the removal of 202 German-owned paintings to the United States following World War II. He also worked at the Marburg Collecting Point with his friend, Sheldon Keck. Having studied with Frank Lloyd Wright before the war, he resumed his life as an architect and housing official in New York City upon returning home, and was responsible for many housing initiatives between 1946 and 1972. Ratensky was a senior city planner in the city’s Housing and Development Administration, and was chosen in 1969 to head New York City’s ill-fated Westway Plan. The goal of the project was to provide citizens with greater access to the Hudson River and ease transportation problems. Ratensky proposed replacing the deteriorating West Side Highway with an underground highway covered by a city park. This project was disputed for sixteen years before the plan was rejected, and it has been said “no unbuilt project has had a greater impact on New York City’s recent history.” Ratensky didn’t live to learn the fate of his project; he died in 1972.


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