Fifth day

Coney Island … has been on my mind since childhood, and  related for me to Chicago’s defunct Riverview.  This year a new Luna Park opened.  The Cyclone roller coaster lives on and Nathan’s fills New York’s hot dog needs.  Breezes in off the open water; long sand beach; strolling, playing, talking. dancing people; reserved little Russia in Brighton at one end…

New York’s hot dog need

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Fourth day

Contrasts: the roughness of streets in the Gansevoort Meat Market Preservation area that we see in the morning presentation, the smoothness of Brooklyn Heights.  But the leafy new High Line Park by Gansevoort, the elegent older Brooklyn Heights Promenade and below it the developing Brooklyn Bridge Parks piers….

After the New England simplicity of Plymouth Church, a trip on unmanicured Fulton Mall: quiet vs noise, maintained vs not, restraint vs exuberance.  And Juniors, where I  ate  a reuben sandwich, drank a cream soda, and ended with New York cheesecake, was a different culinary tradition than what I have eaten in Brooklyn Heights.

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Third day

Brooklyn Bridge from Manhatten

My fast taxi ride across the Brooklyn Bridge was a substitute for a stroll–which I feared was beyond the height limits of my vertigo.  South Street Seaport on the tip of Manhattan, where the taxi dropped us, is a shopping mall with ships; this is the reuse of the past.  Unlike Brooklyn Bridge Park pier pads into the East River, South Street Seaport is aimed at tourists.  Build it and they will come; they had.  Shared is an econimic basis: make the areas more viable.

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Second day

After heavy and/or polluting industry shifts to other places, what happens to land , buildings, and equipment along the waterfront?  The answer in our economy does not come quickly or easily.  The Brooklyn Navy Yard is now an industrial park with some old in-use buildings, some falling-apart ones, and some new construction.  The new industries are smaller, greener, more consumer oriented: artificial sugar, a secure location for art restoration, pre-fab building construction, a movie production company.

The Mary Whelan, a small-volume tanker, and the Lehigh Valley barge are being used for historical and recreational purposes.

The Fairway Grocery in Red Hook is housed in a post Civil War commercial building on the shore.  Upper stories: lofts and apartments.  The store terrace faces the water to Staten Island and New Jersey.  New York City’s relation to its water-based origins is opened up.

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Monday, June 21

Park by Newtown Creek

Monday, June 21, 2010

My other trips to New York City, spread over many years, introduced me to Manhatten.  This trip, in a day and a half with the help of a month of reading, has been a wider and deeper slice of New York City.  Is it like the Buddha’s enlightenment experience–see widely and deeply what we do?  Is that what the 21st century living demands from us?  Or is this, as a faculty member suggested, the American Shanghai along another river, open land and old buildings replaced by expensive high-density glass residences?

My other trips were narrowly cultural; this one has been more informed by history, geology, ecology, with consideration of the infrastructure and the future.  See what comes…

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