Infrastructure Projects - Construction Technology
A Practical Guide to Construction Techniques and Practice
I'd like to speak about Urban Development Corporation's and projects sponsored by the government. I must admit, I was always rather suspicious of these - very, very skeptical about who benefits from these. My mind was changed when my wife and I stood on this massive landfill together with tens of thousands of people in the evening, we watched the fireworks in the Hudson River. It was a spectacular, unforgettable evening.
First of all, I thought Manhattan was fixed size, and now suddenly, many acres had been added to the island and the behavior of the people, you know, thousands of people, no evidence of police. Everyone was orderly and having a wonderful evening, watching the fireworks. This became imprinted in my mind as a capability that I didn't know we had, but we were pulling it off here on the sight of the future Battery Park City.
In the middle of the photo. You can see the twin towers, and the excavation from the Twin Towers was used to fill in this new acreage. I actually lived in Battery Park City for a short period of time. People told me, "how can you live down there? It's so isolated. It's so cut off from the rest of Manhattan. It has nothing to offer you. Why do you want to live down there?" I thought to myself "isolated, cut off from the rest of Manhattan. Yes, yes, give me more."
This is where I did my power walk in the morning. This has since been developed to extend for miles and miles along Manhattan. At the time, it was pretty much limited to Battery Park City. It was the only place I know of in the city where you could actually gain access right to the water's edge and when you finished your power walk, you could always stop for a coffee.
Now, it's hard to believe that this photo is in New York City. but this is Battery Park City. I am still to this day struck by the incredible success of this public effort. This is an evening shot of Battery Park City and in the distant background, the Verrazano Bridge, which I was lucky enough to work on right after school.
That brings us to 42nd Street. Frankly, I didn't have much problem with the seedy 42nd Street. I lived in Manhattan all of my life. This is something I just came to understand as part of the fabric of life in New York City. This is another public development project, which succeeded in getting rid of all the porno on 42nd Street. This is very close to my heart, because I played a leadership role in this, and actually was the President of a Public Development Corporation engaged in this effort.
I am still amazed by the quality of the people involved in these projects. They are the best and brightest people I've ever met. Every day we would come to work with one goal in mind to achieve the greatest result for the public. Time after time, these projects have been able to do exactly that. Here's 42nd Street. Now, many of the old theaters have been restored and many new businesses thriving on the street.
That brings me to this. First of all, I love urban archaeology. Whenever I see a photo like this, I am really moved. What is this? This is a floating bridge, and the engine on it is called a switcher. It's not an engine that's meant to haul freight any great distance. It works in a yard and just moves the cars around. The gantry in the back raises and lowers the floating bridge so that it can meet exactly the barges that are incoming with cars.
This assembly is on the west side of Queens. It's an area that's variously known as Jamaica or as Hunters Point. In any event, it's the West Side Of Queens, more or less opposite the UN building. That's the same gantry as it appears today. Queens West was another public development project, which was devoted almost entirely to housing, and in addition to schools and other public facilities, and they restored the gantry and a little sign says, live at the gantries. This has become a fabulous, new addition to the New York City fabric.
This was another iconic sign that existed on the East River, and it's been salvaged and restored, and now has a permanent place. You'll see this sign during the class. Occasionally, there's a little view of it. I just wanted to give you some background.
There's the restored gantry. The building just behind it is the building we will be examining in this class. It's a good example of a high-rise building, constructed using a concrete frame. You'll see just how quickly a building like that can go up.