Open House New York 2016
A whirlwind weekend of sites and tours!
DSNY Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station
Saturday started off at the DSNY Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station in Brooklyn. At this state-of-the-art facility, set to open early 2017, we walked through the waste processing workflow: Sanitation trucks come in and dump their trash loads in a huge area, oversized front-end loaders push and tamp the trash into holes in the floor which lead to containers on digital scales. Once a container is full, it's lidded, slid outside, and plucked up by one of two cranes to be placed on a barge and shipped away.
African Burial Ground National Monument
In 1991, human remains were discovered when beginning excavation for a new federal building. This burial ground was used by African Americans during the 1700s. After much community uproar, the developers conceded to build the national monument to commemorate those who were buried here. I'd been to this somber site before, but at the time only the visitor center happened to be open. It was great to see the outdoor part of the monument this time around as well.
Manhattan Municipal Building Cupola
I was so lucky to get reservations to this hottest ticket in town: the cupola on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building. The view was incredible! And my favorite "easter egg" was the Guastavino tile in the ceiling of the cupola (not pictured).
DSNY Manhattan 11 Garage "Mongo" collection
I had been wanting to see this collection of discarded items for so long. Nelson Molina, now-retired sanitation worker, collected these objects over 30 years that he worked collecting garbage and meticulously arranged them in the upper level of his sanitation garage. The collection is beautiful, detailed, expansive, and really has to be experienced in person. A few of us who stayed latest on the tour were lucky enough to see the small room inside the locker room (don't worry, none of the workers were in there) where the collection started (bottom right).
Concrete Plant Park
This relatively new park, tucked away along the Bronx River and just north of Hunts Point, is a gem. Our tour guides took us through the history of the Bronx River and the area the park now occupies. (Not surprisingly, it was the site of an old concrete plant among other things). The most special gem was viewing the Cass Gilbert-designed railroad station (bottom left), which is presently in ruins but hopefully will be restored and repurposed in the future.
DNSY Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage and Salt Shed
The tour of this pair of buildings covered both the architecture and infrastructure/use of the building, with various tour guides from Dattner Architects and the DSNY presenting at different "stations" throughout. The modernist pair of buildings, completed in 2015, delicately balance the wants of the surrounding community, green design, and efficiency for the sanitation work. My favorite part? The salt shed (top left) is shaped like a salt crystal!
So grateful to Open House New York, DNSY, Dattner Architects, Bronx River Alliance, Manhattan Borough President's Office, and all the individuals who volunteered their time to make it an amazing weekend.