as seen from East River Roundabout, the helical aluminum sculpture mounted on top of the red steel beams. (Those beams once supported the roof of the former garbage transfer station that still stands beneath my feet.) The sculpture, dedicated in 1995, recently became part of the new Andrew Haswell Green Park, the only substantial public monument (not counting a bench in Central Park) to a man who was "arguably the most important leader in Gotham's long history, more important than Peter Stuyvesant, Alexander Hamilton, Frederick Law Olmsted, Robert Moses and Fiorello La Guardia."
From a 1941 NY Times article:
Dr. Finley was New York's most peripatetic philosopher. Indeed, he had covered half the world afoot, watching the human scene with kindly eyes. . . . But it was over this peaceful and marvelous Island of Manhattan that he liked most of all to wander, counting that day lost when he had not checked off at least 10 miles. Once each year he walked entirely around the island, covering part of that promenade that now bears his name. Today, because it does bear his name and because it perpetuates his walking image wrought in iron by an artist who knew him in his forward-tilted stride, it will help others see with his understanding eyes the shimmering waters that girdle us, the towered silhouette of the city and all the friendly passers-by who give life and meaning to the Manhattan panorama.
Opened in 1951, this pedestrian bridge connects East Harlem with Randalls and Wards Islands. For many years, the bridge was closed (i.e., the center span was raised, as it would be if a large boat were passing beneath) at night and during the colder months of the year because of various security concerns: residents of a Wards Island homeless shelter near the bridge crossing into East Harlem to buy drugs and cause trouble, young men from East Harlem attacking the homeless, and patients escaping from the Manhattan Psychiatric Center (visible behind the center span of the bridge) and fleeing across the bridge. The bridge was also closed for a few days around Halloween each year, presumably in response to this incident. After undergoing a major rehabilitation, the bridge reopened in 2012 and is now open to foot traffic at all times.
The best places to see the celebrated products of New York — its Broadway talent, its skyscraper architecture — are well known.
But the best place to see Manhattan's byproducts — what is stuffed down its sinks, flushed down its toilets and washed from its gutters — cannot be found in tour guides. There is perhaps no better vantage point than the Manhattan Grit Chamber, which strains solids from much of the borough's sewage as it flows underground to the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. . . .
"We get a lot of turtles and fish. . . . We've had a canoe come in here; it got caught on the screen. We've had pieces of telephone poles, Christmas trees. Oh, you name it — mattresses, dead dogs. We got a live dog once."
"The second floor of this [sanitation] garage, long deemed too weak to support vehicles, has become a gallery of sorts, home to hundreds and hundreds of paintings, photographs, posters and objects, neatly framed and mounted on the walls. They are varied in every way — from style to age to material — except for one: almost every last piece of the collection was rescued from household trash by New York City’s sanitation workers as they went along their daily routes."
Read more here!
(The museum is not open to the public; this is as far as I got before someone stopped me.)