If tomorrow’s next week’s meet-up, tour and potluck picnic along the Grand Concourse whets your appetite for more Bronx explorations, then come back Thursday afternoon to behold an impressive flotilla navigating down the Bronx River. Bronx River Crossing (BRX) is a project of Van Alen Institute New York Prize winners Alexander Levi and Amanda Schachter. They have been working since January 2009 to with over 100 Bronx high school students and their teachers, local community leaders, and architecture students and practitioners in and around New York City to design and build a floating, large-scale model of the Lower Bronx River Watershed. Come to Hunt’s Point Riverside Park for the docking and celebration. Or walk along the banks as participants get their float on. Here’s the Van Alen’s write-up:
Made from recovered materials including 3,000 used MetroCards, 30 broken umbrellas, 2,000 plastic bottles, 300 sycamore burrs, and 50 PVC window frames hauled off a demolition site, the model will be assembled and launched on June 11 from 219th Street into the Bronx River, accompanied by a thirty-canoe-strong flotilla of the BRX participants responsible for its creation. After spending the previous night camping out along the river, the group will guide the giant watershed model downstream and pull ashore at Hunts Point Riverside Park for a public presentation and reception. (Click HERE for a downloadable map of the BRX course).
BRX complements current ongoing efforts for environmental reclamation by local activists and inspires prolonged collaborative design investigation that will strengthen links across neighborhoods, institutions and public space along the river. Summoning a broad-based community and culling material from the city fabric itself, Levi and Schachter physically activate and recast the Lower Bronx River Watershed as the ecological and social spine of the borough. The BRX Watershed model displays both seen and unseen elements of the region-including the historical ecology of the watershed, neighborhoods, buildings, transportation infrastructures, storm water and sewer networks, the Greenway and other open public space, and a range of evidence and concepts gathered from the personal itineraries of BRX participants. Following its launch down the river, the model is planned to tour Bronx schools in Fall 2009.
Please join Alexander Levi, Amanda Schachter, and the BRX participants for a reception at Hunts Point Riverside Park in the Bronx as they share experiences of their efforts from the initial planning and mapping stages through model-building, flotation, and final launch. Presentations will begin at 3:00pm, and the Bronx Watershed Model will remain on view at the park until 6:00pm. No RSVP necessary.
Directions to Hunts Point Riverside Park: Take the 6 Train to Hunts Point Ave. Transfer to the Bx6 Bus, and get off at the intersection of Spofford Ave and Halleck St. Walk 1 block north on Halleck, and turn right onto Lafayette/Hunts Point Riverside Park. Travel time is approximately 1 hour from Union Square.
For anyone interested in viewing the BRX Watershed Model from the riverbanks while it floats downstream, Levi and Schachter have provided a map and timeline with suggested stopping points. To download the map, click HERE. A guided walk may be organized in the coming days; if you would like to participate, please firstname.lastname@example.org and we will notify you of availability.
Participating schools and institutions include Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Pablo Neruda Academy for Architecture and World Studies, Urban Workshop, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture, and Fordham University. Additional project support provided by the Bronx River Alliance, New York City Urban Park Rangers, NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Bureau of Topography of the Office of the Bronx Borough President, and the St Joan of Arc Church. Special thanks to all students, collaborators, and team leaders. See below for a complete list: Participating BRX Students Alexander Levi and Amanda Schachter divided the Lower Bronx Watershed into four regions of study – Estuary, Saltmarsh, Upland, and Freshmarsh – and assigned a team of high school and university students to each. The four teams met weekly throughout Spring 2009 to plan and build one section each of the Lower Bronx Watershed model.
Led by Colin Cathcart, Aslihan Demirtas, and Joyce Huang
Fordham University Department of Visual Arts
Pablo Neruda Academy for Architecture and World Studies
Led by Amanda Schachter and Marc Skelton; Special thanks to Moji Baratloo
Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Urban Planning and Preservation, Master of Urban Design
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School
Led by Alexander Levi and Stephen Oliveira; Special thanks to Anthony Schuman
New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture
Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
Led by Amanda Schachter, Dan Morgenroth, Jonas Schantz, and Caroline Suh
Fordham University Department of Visual Studies