The Manhattan Facelift
New York, New York
Conceived after being laid off in an architecture firm in Phoenix (2009), I sought to use the new-found time to execute an idea that had been growing in my mind for the past year. In the spring of 2008 I visited NYC when it occurred to me in a rainstorm that a covered walkway would be welcome not only to myself, but all New Yorkers and visitors caught without an umbrella; after all, America's premier city ought to have premier walkways, too. The next morning I walked to a conference which brought me to the city, and found myself crumpled up at the populous corners with coughing folks. At that moment, I thought an elevated "Airwalk" would solve this stop-and-go pedestrianism and perhaps cut down on the spread of annual sickness.
This was a period wherein our new President Obama was outlaying a Stimulus package, in succession to the previous President Bush's TARP. It occurred to me that the infrastructure funds could be used to pay for the Airwalk. Essentially, it is an elevated platform for pedestrians; it has four lanes either way for walking and two-lanes either way for cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc.
By uniting the five boroughs with an Airwalk numerous things occur: a previous freedom is spread to the pedestrian; families can send their children safely to school with more ease in regards to automobile safety; property owner's at the second floor enjoy more valuable real estate - now the second level has pedestrians and may support retail or other higher rent businesses; the city can enjoy an influx of activity whereby new businesses requiring high-level foot traffic may now flourish - causing banks to meet the demands of interested citizens not government mandated hand outs; the first high-level ocean-wave powered civic project in the world - a necessary primer to powering the rest of the city (Con Edison research?); translucent floors allow light to the street - not to repeat the dark shadow of the High Line; removable parapets enable any building to attach to the Airwalk AFTER it is built - no hold up from in the planning phase; bridges provide earnings to Port Authority or other governing entity for payback of government stimulus funds; advertising on removable panels (attractive aluminum cutouts - no garishly colored ads) provides funds to payback stimulus monies - imagine the earning power of a panel every four feet on two sides of the Airwalk for 150 miles or roughly (15) 10 mile routes, for example; a new and noble high-density metropolis, literally elevated - a facelift not a transplant.