What a difference a day makes. We go from orange cement mixer to green, and the crew appears in a combination of yellow and orange anoraks. The men continue to build and pour cement, and the condo rises. I think we have a couple of weeks before it reaches above the low, gray buildings on Tenth Avenue.
On the High Line deck (in the photo with the green mixer) you can see little bundles which I think are wrapped-up, upside-down benches. We shall see. The spruce trees are lovely, and all the greenery must be happy for the rain we’ve had over the past few days. It’s quiet on the High Line, noisy on the condo.
The long end of this wonderful machine looks exactly like an elephant’s trunk, and as it dangles and sways it even mimics the gate of the giant beast. But it’s a cement hose, and if you ever wondered how they got the cement up to the High Line, here’s the answer: the Cement Elephant.
I snapped this photo at the start of the day, then left for a meeting, so didn’t get to watch much of it. But several men guided the hose as fresh cement poured from it. Magically, the machine turned green.
On subsequent visits it turned orange…..
Down at street level the scene is a bit less romantic, unless you happen to love huge trucks.
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.
I’ve been sensationally busy lately, building a website. I haven’t looked out the window in days. So I can’t say when the High Line guys moved the wonderful Grasshopper to the spot it now occupies, center stage in my evolving High Line drama. But tonight, as I was passing by the window with a nice glass of wine, I happened to glance out and there it was. It reminded me of my father once more.
Thanks again, High Line guys. Tomorrow I’ll try very hard to put myself in front of the window and watch, so I can see what this marvelous device actually does. Or maybe it’s better to let it stay a mystery. Only tomorrow will tell.
In the future many thousands of umbrellas will make the walk up and down the section of the High Line north of 20th Street, but this guy most certainly gets to seize the mantel as First Umbrella Walker. Good for you, dude.
It was a small parade this morning, led by two guys in a yellow machine with Umbrella Man taking up the rear. One thing I love about the construction crew on the High Line: they have such varied outfits. The guy at the wheel of the (way cool) yellow machine (which I covet a ride on…) has yellow rain pants whereas the other fellow — the one riding shotgun — is in an orange sou’wester suit. Umbrella Man is wearing a simple yellow construction pinnie.
Since we’re on the subject of what guys on the High Line construction crew wear: I snapped this fellow last week. It’s not his well-worn green helmet that’s so appealing, nor is it the casual, bright-orange-gloves-stuffed-in-the-back-pocket look. It’s the fact that his black hoodie completely covers his face, making him appear like a character in Star Wars. High Line Mystery Man.
It was a slushy downpour today: a combination of driving rain/snow that landed on every surface and materialized into slush. Including the guys in orange slickers who were toling away down on the High Line. I was setting up my camera as the machine to the right rolled by, so I had some serendipity (it’s rare to catch a moving machine on the High Line…), but given the lack of light and the little time I had to get the settings right, the photo is a bit of a blur. But you can see much intriguing stuff down there: rail ties set out on concrete beds on the eastern side and a stack of materials ready to be laid on the western edge.
Taking Bucky downstairs for a quick pee this morning I was greeted with a sign in our elevator bearing the headline: “Notice of High Line Deck Waterproofing.” Snapped it with my iPhone. Juggling a leash with an impatient dog at the other end didn’t help, but you get the picture: we are advised that “Deck Waterproofing” is soon to begin. The sign explains that “three coats of waterproofing, primer and two finish” will be applied. “Because concrete waterproofing is a very weather dependent operation,” they go on, “it is difficult to provide an exact schedule.” And then the kicker: “The waterproofing operation is likely to be accompanied by odors…” Luckily this operation took place on a cold January day so there was no need to close a window.
I caught these fellows in the act of pouring concrete early one morning. I had Bucky with me and we had just dropped Ann off at Penguin. Walked back up on Tenth Avenue, rather than the bike path, and was rewarded with the sight of a large, loud, concrete mixer with a very long piping system attached to its arm. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a view from my window of the concrete being actually poured onto the High Line bed (meetings, tarnation). This was taken with an iPhone, so not such great quality.
Days pass with no action and suddenly there is a large truck on the Highline. How did it get there? Why do I have to go to meetings?
The truck gives way to yet another machine, but before these fellows arrived on the scene a worker made a huge amount of noise with a leaf blower. Perhaps he was drying out the concrete? I had to move to the bedroom in order to take a business call. This blue machine appears to be a precise instrument that does what??
And then, most amazing of all, the men change outfits and re-emerge in Hasmat suits to paint the Highline yellow.
The smell is so awful and sickening that I am forced to close every window in the apartment (7 face the Highline) and turn on the air conditioning. Finally I move (again) to the bedroom. What is this paint and why does it smell so deadly?
But it certainly does the trick. The Highline is now yellow.