10 of the Most Unconventional Public Buildings in NYC

Spring-Street-Salt-Shed-Dattner Architects-NYCPhoto by Field Condition via Dattner Architects

New York City boasts some of the most progressive works of architecture and design, including the resiliency-driven “Big U” in Lower Manhattan and the New York City’s first all-wood high rise building in Chelsea. These unconventional designs don’t only apply to private buildings, but many public buildings most would expect to be mundane. To defy the banality of stereotypical public buildings, here are 10 unique and unconventional public buildings that have been serving the population of New York, and have intrigued and inspired many.

10. Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

More widely known as the “Digester Eggs,” the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn is the largest sewage treatment facility operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The name comes from the 140 foot-tall egg-shaped structures which house the plant’s sludge digesters. At night, the massive eggs are illuminated with blue light, making it a local landmark that is hard to miss. The plant serves a population of over one million people in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. It can handle 310 million gallons of waste water per day, about 18 percent of the city’s wastewater.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant-Tour-Digester Eggs-Greenpoint-NYC-001View from the upper walkways of the Digester Eggs, as seen on tours

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection hosts tours of the Digester Eggs three times a year, and the next one will be on April 16, 2016. Participants will be able to get an overview of the plant’s wastewater treatment process, as well as access to unobstructed views of the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens skylines from a glass-enclosed observation deck built on top of the digester eggs.

Not surprisingly, the Digester Eggs figure in film locations in television shows like Jessica Jones and White Collar.

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