Thursday, June 28, 2007

Governors Island

Governors Island has pretty much always amazed me. First there is the name, which I think is great, and which refers to the time when it was the exclusive property of the British governor of New York. Then there is just the fact that you have this 172 acre plot of land so close to one of the the most space cramped part of the Unites States and next to nothing has been done with it (they uses it as a dump for a while). The place just clearly has a lot of potential, the view alone says that.

Over the years the island has changed hands quite a bit being given by the army to New York State, from New York State to the Department of the Interior, and from the Department of the Interior to the National Park Service. The fact that is belonged to the military saved it from the clutches of Robert Moses and now they are getting ready to develop the property (as a park and leaving the historical buildings on the north face of the island in tact). Anyway here are my favorite and least favorite plans for Governors Island (there are five proposals in total and you can see them all here):

"The Mollusk" - Involves flooding big chunks of the island with more chunks being flooded at high tide. It is supposed "evoke the mollusks that once encrusted the island's shores." Yes so they don't say flooding, they say 'tidal pools,' but either way I think it is stupid. First I don't think anyone will get/care that they are trying to make the island look like a mollusk and I don't think most people are too interested in the island's mollusk past. Also, it just seems a waste to flood good land, not to mention the tidal pools would be big mosquito breeding grounds in summer (not fun). They did want to put in thermal pools though (for people) a la Iceland facing the Statue of Liberty, though, that was pretty cool.

"The Island" - This plan involves creating a big meadow, a working farm, a beach, and a ravine within the island that you can kayak around in (with fantastic views). This one just works for me better, it seems to make better use of space while differentiating the areas and providing a lot of variety of nature in one of the most urban areas of the world. This endorsement may be the kiss of death for the proposal.

Anyway, look at the link for the full plans, the images are pretty cool (would have posted them there, but sadly they are not swipeable).

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