|Many years ago I was working as a paralegal for a midtown law firm, and one of the attorneys wanted information on how the Lincoln Center and WTC properties were cleared. I dug through old NY Times accounts and the like, on microfilm at the library. I was amazed how factually inconsistent the articles were about the histories of the respective areas. My conclusion was that the scale of both projects resulted from having Rockefellers behind them (David and/or Lawrence), and while Lincoln Center was definitely a large slum clearance project, the WTC may or may not have had residential teardowns. I've seen recent accounts that describe the WTC area as "thriving" in the mid' 60s. I'd say "commercially viable," maybe, but I don't think there were that many people living down there.
Abbott on the lower west side
radio row memory