It’s impossible to know the slow choreography that’s involved in a building project unless you happen to witness it unfolding. Strolling through a park — take, for example, the High Line — you’d never guess at the number of steps that have been taken before the ground you walk on is complete.
This was made manifest to me today as I glanced out the window and watched two men at work, moving pavers. Here’s what I think is going on: the large stack of pavers in the foreground has been sitting in that spot for quite some time, and was placed there — on the west side of the High Line — so the men could lay track on the east side. Now, it appears, they are moving each paver — one by one, slowly, gingerly — to get them out of the way so they can prepare the bed that the stack lies on. That bed will become the walkway that hundreds of people pass along each day once this segment of the park is opened. The process takes about 5 minutes per paver, and unfolds thusly:
Guy #1 climbs the stack and lassos the paver that’s scheduled to move. He steps to the side and levels the concrete beam, gently steering it eastward.
Then he hops down from his pile and points the beam ahead of him, and begins to walk north along the High Line.
The yellow machine follows at a leisurely pace, carrying the brunt of the load. They disappear from my view pretty quickly, and I have no way of knowing where this beam and its fellows ends up.
But about 10 minutes later the two men heave back into view, this time driving the yellow machine in reverse. They repeat the process, following exactly the same steps, until the pile is gone.