Maybe it’s a natural human tendency to want to build bridges, at least in New York City. There have even been plans to infill the Hudson and East Rivers so we could just walk over to New Jersey. Then there was “Lolo,” a proposal to fill in the land between downtown Manhattan and Governors Island. Thankfully, in real life, particularly after Hurricane Sandy, we’re learning that it’s better to let nature reclaim our waterfronts.
On a more temporary scale, Citizen Bridge, a project by artist Nancy Nowacek, hopes to raise enough money via Kickstarter to create an ephemeral pedestrian bridge between Governors Island and Red Hook, Brooklyn.– a reference to a 19th-century land bridge used farmers to move cattle at low tide across the Buttermilk Channel.
The bridge is one of many projects that has aimed to reconnect New Yorkers to their waterfront over the past decade. As stated in the Citizen Bridge mission statement, “Long ago, the center of city life and citizen prosperity was its waterways, and amongst many other forms of access, New Yorkers could move between Brooklyn and Governors Island on a sandbar at low tide. For many reasons, the waterways have shifted to the edges of life.”
Photo by Nancy Nowacek via Brooklyn Based
The group behind Citizen Bridge has actually been testing and prototyping for four years now, and even have some significant partners behind the project, including engineering firms like Thornton Tomasetti and Glosten, which specializes in marine engineering and floating structures, and Marvel Architects, the Brooklyn-based firm behind the renovation of McCarren Park Pool and St Ann’s Warehouse.
Prototype testing of Citizen Bridge in 2015
As Brooklyn Based reports, Citizen Bridge tested out a 30-foot prototype last September at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, also home to the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility. If the Kickstarter is funded, a 120-foot version will be tested off Brooklyn Bridge Park for two weeks (but won’t be open to the public except to funders).
Like Swale, another crowd-funding project in the works for a floating barge farm, the final version of Citizen Bridge would also be centered around community building with a month-long series of events surrounding the installation – entitled “Bridge Camp.” That won’t happen until a target date of August 2017.
Next, check out the vintage photos of NYC’s Bridges Under Construction and the secrets of NYC’s Williamsburg Bridge.