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    The weekend of site visits

    By PodZilla
    Jan 24, '09 6:14 PM EST

    Inevitably, when anyone thinks about doing initial site visits during the spring semester, one word pops into their mind: cold. Since January in the northeast tends to be the coldest of the months, and the spring semester conveniently starts in January, I have not had a warm site visit in the spring in about 3 years. Nonetheless, we all pulled on our under armor and Ushankas and ventured out into the cold.

    Site Visit 1: Far Rockaway/Fort Tilden

    Matt Peckham has assigned us our project for Advanced Construction. We're to design a small (1800 sq. ft.) community sauna, to be placed on a piece of land adjacent to the ocean in Fort Tilden, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. If any of you are in the New York area and have access to a car, I highly recommend you take a drive and check this area out. It's pretty hard to believe standing on a dune, surrounded by sea grass and the sounds of the ocean that you're still standing in New York City.

    The Site, as seen from the dunes looking north away from the ocean.

    We're situated between two abandoned army barracks.

    Inside the largest of the three barracks.

    Site Visit 2: Bayonne Piers

    My site for studio this semester is in Bayonne, which is a far cry from Florence, that's for sure. We're studying Dynamic Urbanism and creating an intervention for a new community situated on the two largest piers in Bayonne. Currently they're occupied by new condominium developments, a cruise ship terminal, a drydock company, a memorial to the fight against terrorism, a shipping company, and the holding lots for Toyota, Chrysler and BMW/Mini. The pieces of land are completely man made, and we turned up some pretty sweet maps and aerial photos of the area from as far back as 1900, showing how these piers started as simple wharves and gradually were added to until they took their current form, about as long as Manhattan is wide.

    Current topo map of the site. North (Manhattan, not shown) is to the left. Brooklyn is up, directly across the river.

    The southern edge of the southern pier, complete with container ship gantry cranes.

    Tidal Marshlands adjacent to our site.

    Oil Tanker unloading...I think.

    A field of unsold Toyotas, waiting to be shipped to dealers. The lot next door, labeled "Chrysler Receiving" was ominously empty...

    One of the best things about the site (currently) is the views to Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Verazano Bridge.


    One of the surprise discoveries of the day was made as we were driving off the second of the two piers, heading home. Placed on a barge, not 100 feet from where we parked, was the US Airways Jet that crashed in the Hudson River two weeks ago. It was pretty wild to think that this thing had made a crash landing into a river. Besides the obviously missing engine and emergency exit doors, it looked perfectly normal, ready for it's next flight.




    • _JC

      that is awesome...

      Jan 24, 09 7:47 pm

      Are those stick (like) things jutting out of the marshland(s) oyster beds or something?

      Jan 25, 09 10:52 am

      oysters from BAYONNE? nam, you'd have to see Bayonne and the surrounding context, it's literally a cesspool.

      pod, i am guessing you did not take Don Wall.

      Jan 25, 09 1:19 pm

      That I did not. I took Orsini... there's 7 people in my studio and we're in the parking deck. woo.

      Nam, i think those sticks are in place for wetlands retention, I would imagine.

      Jan 25, 09 3:42 pm

      ugh, parking deck? that's pretty shitty, disconnected from everything.

      Jan 25, 09 7:00 pm

      I always they give you a plotter or two in there? Avoiding the print room during reviews is potentially the only benefit I can imagine in being over in the deck.

      Jan 25, 09 7:10 pm

      haha, parking deck?!
      Definitely have a post with some pictures. Rants are welcome.

      Jan 25, 09 10:05 pm

      The only upshot to being in the deck is that we're about a 32 second walk from my dorm room in Laurel. We don't have a plotter, but we do have a laser with no paper... oh, and mice, and flies, and car alarms, and the rumble of cars driving overhead. The only upshot is that there's 17 of us in here, so it's nice and spacious.

      Jan 25, 09 11:28 pm

      GAH! Poor grammar on my part. I wrote that comment in two sittings and didn't read the top bit to realize I repeated myself.

      Jan 26, 09 9:41 am

      Yeah come on man, get it together...there's no room for multiples when the word "only" is brought into the situation. There's also, as I would imagine, only room for one upshot when you're studio is in a parking deck.

      Jan 26, 09 9:49 am

      I know the Jersey waters aren't clean. But they have been piloting oyster beds as bio-infrastructure for water filtration, in the NYC area.
      But wetland retention seems more likely.

      Jan 26, 09 10:11 am

      yeah, its just hard for me to consider possible harvesting of oysters from Bayonne Bay...>gack<! but if it's for a bio-infra project to help cleanse the bay, then have at it.

      Jan 26, 09 10:17 am

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