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Archive for April 5th, 2012

primitive ruins

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent business brought me to Manhattan, and an opportunity to walk along the East River while moving downtown presented itself. A spectacular promenade has recently emerged along the coast of the Shining City, much of which is unfortunately cement. Shiny and new, the sections above Corlears Hook made me a little nervous, as if one had wandered into an architect’s drawing populated by spandex wearing fitness models riding bicycles and running determinedly. Downtown, between East River Bridge Two and One (Manhattan and Brooklyn) this waterfront parkland was just grungy and old enough to feel lived in, by ordinary folk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is difficult to complain about these open air trottoirs, which allow the citizenry a chance to gaze at the splendors of the harbor, especially given what these areas were like a mere 20-30 years ago. Trash strewn and off limits, New York had left its waterfront to rot away. The great shame of it all, and this is where the kvetching and Monday morning quarterbacking comes in, is that the infrastructure of docks and wharfs which literally made New York great is gone- never to return. Once something becomes a park, it is virtually impossible for it to return to other usage. No ship will be arriving here ever again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s the way of things, of course, and long ago was it decided that maritime interests were unimportant to Manhattan. So few are the docks on the island nowadays that it is scantly possible to find a berth. Word has it that the various waterfront vision plans include the usage of “temporary” or “floating” docks at some point in the future, but the days when a ship could unexpectedly arrive in the City- laden with some mysterious cargo from the south seas- seem to be over.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

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