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Archive for May 24th, 2010

Project Firebox 5

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Project Firebox, 1314 – photo by Mitch Waxman

Storied and replete with historical allegories and cautionary tales, Greenpoint in Brooklyn hosts some of New York’s most ancient street furniture. This survivor of the 20th century, I am told by certain reputable experts, would have had a lit globe at its summit when new. Said globe would light to indicate to arriving firefighters where the fire alarm was raised. This is on Provost street, near the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

As it turns out, Provost street is named for one of the original European settlers of Greenpoint:

from nyc-architecture.com

The Praa’s and Volchertsen’s, together, with the Mesorole’s, Calyer’s, Provoost’s, and Bennet’s formed the core of settler farmer families that lived and flourished on the land consisting of Green Point. They and their ancestors would do so for almost 200 years. The fertile land provided enough to supply the needs of the families that toiled on the land, and an abundant excess to trade at nearby markets. Each family kept a large row boat on the river to transport their harvest to the markets downstream in the emerging cities of Williamsburg and Brooklyn, and across the river in New York. Thus, Green Point became a major agricultural center and breadbasket for the area. It’s grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables and livestock made it possible for others to take up other trades in the New World, and contributed to the overall success of the pioneer efforts of that era.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

MV Red Hook at Brooklyn Bridge

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle suffers much for my obsessions with the municipal sewage infrastructure of the City of Greater New York. Endless hours of monotone exposition greets her whenever a significant appliance or facility is encountered, and today you- lords and ladies- will share her pain. That’s the M/V Red Hook sludge boat soldiering down the East River, and passing beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

from wikipedia

Contemporaries marveled at what technology was capable of and the bridge became a symbol of the optimism of the time. John Perry Barlow wrote in the late 20th century of the “literal and genuinely religious leap of faith” embodied in the Brooklyn Bridge … “the Brooklyn Bridge required of its builders faith in their ability to control technology.”

References to “selling the Brooklyn Bridge” abound in American culture, sometimes as examples of rural gullibility but more often in connection with an idea that strains credulity. For example, “If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.” References are often nowadays more oblique, such as “I could sell you some lovely riverside property in Brooklyn …”. George C. Parker and William McCloundy are two early 20th-century con-men who had (allegedly) successfully perpetrated this scam on unwitting tourists. The 1949 Bugs Bunny cartoon Bowery Bugs is a joking reference to Bugs “selling” a story of the Brooklyn Bridge to a naive tourist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speculative destinations for the Red Hook could include storied Greenpoint, where the product of the Temple of Cloacina might require transport, or the Wards Island facility where the syrupy product of New York’s human infestation will be dewatered and processed into cakes of concentrated nightsoil.

from nyc.gov

Sludge treatment

The following are typical stages of the sludge treatment process.

Thickening

The sludge produced by primary and secondary treatment is approximately 99% water and must be concentrated to enable its further processing. Thickening tanks allow the sludge to collect, settle and separate from the water for up to 24 hours. The water is then sent back to the head of the plant or to the aeration tanks for additional treatment.

Digestion

After thickening, the sludge is further treated to make it safer for the environment. The sludge is placed in oxygenfree tanks, called digesters, and heated to at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit for between 15 to 20 days. This stimulates the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which consume organic material in the sludge. Unlike the bacteria in the aeration tanks, these bacteria thrive in an oxygen-free or “anaerobic” environment. The digestion process stabilizes the thickened sludge by converting much of the material into water, carbon dioxide and methane gas. The black sludge that remains after digestion has the consistency of pea soup and has little odor. This is called digested sludge.

Methane gas is often used as an energy source at the City’s wastewater treatment plants. The gas may be used in engines to produce electricity or directly drive plant equipment. Gas is also used in boilers to provide heat for digestion and plant-wide buildings. Currently, DEP and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) have jointly installed fuel cells at four of the City’s water pollution control plants; 26th Ward, Red Hook, Oakwood Beach and Hunts Point. Fuel cells convert the methane gas and carbon dioxide into heat and electricity that is then used to operate the plants. This technology contributes to New York City’s efforts to enhance clean air operations at its facilities. There is a significant reduction in air emissions as a result of using fuel cells.

Digester sludge is pumped from sludge storage tanks to a dewatering facility. At some treatment plants, where there are no dewatering facilities on site, the sludge is transported for processing through a pipeline or by a sludge boat to a plant that has a dewatering facility.

Cape Cod and Bayonne Bridge

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Small, yet wiry, the Cape Cod tug at the Port Elizabeth Newark complex with the Bayonne Bridge catching the vermillion of a setting sun. I’m informed that Cape Cod is 326 GT, and was built in 1967. The Bayonne Bridge was built in 1931, on the other hand, and is the 4th longest steel arch bridge upon the entire Earth. The bridge connects… Staten Island… to New Jersey.

There is some debate amongst maritime authorities as to the future of the structure, as its 266 feet over water level height restricts entry of the newest Panamax freighters into the dock and gantry facilities.

from wikipedia

Ammann, the master bridge builder and chief architect of the Port Authority, chose the steel arch design after rejecting a cantilever and suspension design as expensive and impractical for the site.

The eventual design of the bridge called for a graceful arch that soars 266 feet (69 m) above the Kill Van Kull [3] and supports a road bed for 1,675 feet (511 m) without intermediary piers. The total length of the bridge is 8,640 feet (2,633 m) with a mid-span clearance above the water of 150 feet (46 m). The arch resembles a parabola, but is made up of 40 linear segments.

The design of the steel arch is based on the Hell Gate Bridge designed by Ammann’s mentor, Gustav Lindenthal. Gilbert had designed an ornamental granite sheathing over the steelwork as part of the original proposal, but as in the case of the George Washington Bridge, the stone sheathing was eliminated in order to lower the cost of the bridge, leaving the steel trusses exposed. It was the first bridge to employ the use of manganese steel for the main arch ribs and rivets.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Laura K. Moran at Kill Van Kull

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently spied, the Laura K. Moran in the supernatural lighting of a setting sun, hurtling along the Kill Van Kull.

A 5,100 HP, twin screw Z Drive tug, Laura K. Moran was built in Maine by Hodgdon, Washburn & Doughty Associates, is 92 feet, 184 GT, and was launched in 2008. Our buddy at tugster did a nice portrait of the Laura K., and this ship was the last command before retirement of legendary Tug Captain John Willmot.

from washburndoughty.com

Washburn & Doughty Associates, Inc. of East Boothbay, Maine specializes in the construction of steel and aluminum commercial vessels. Founded by Bruce Doughty, Bruce Washburn and Carl Pianka, the yard began building fishing boats in 1977. Since then, the yard has continued to prosper by diversifying its capabilities, developing innovative designs and building techniques, and reaching out to new markets. Washburn & Doughty has delivered of a diverse mix of tugboats, commercial passenger vessels, fishing boats, barges, ferries and research vessels.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

Project Firebox 4

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Project Firebox, 4430 – photo by Mitch Waxman

This curiously intact specimen, untrammeled despite its industrial location, was observed on the corner of 49th street and Astoria Blvd. near the witch crossed St. Michael’s cemetery.

from nydailynews.com

Mayor Bloomberg wants to extinguish fire alarm boxes from city streets.

Bloomberg pitched the fiery move this week as part of his budget for fiscal year 2011, saying it would save FDNY $2.5 million.

Since 85% of calls made through the street boxes are false alarms, Bloomberg said, “In the days where everybody has cell phones … the city would be just as safe without them.”

Only 140 structural fires last year out of 26,666 were first called in through an alarm box – and phone calls on those fires came in after the boxes were pulled, according to the FDNY.

But a change in the law is needed to scrap the 15,000 boxes because in 1997 a federal judge said such a move violates the civil rights of the deaf.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 24, 2010 at 12:05 am

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