Futuristic Enclosure Thingy Proposed for the BQE

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It never hurts to dream. Manhattan-based architecture firm Studio for Civil Architecture just released its proposal for a visual and sound barrier between the BQE and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Regardless of what is ultimately built on the waterfront housing, restaurants, ball fields, passive recreation areas visitors to the open space and surrounding structures will be subject to relentless, unpleasant, potentially deafening noise at 85 decibels, the equivalent of standing next to an operating lawnmower,” says architect Donald Rattner, who designed the lightweight structure to encase the triple-cantilever of the roadway with Hage Engineering. Evidently this stretch of the BQE is scheduled to be repaired in 2018 and the designers want to throw their idea into the ring now. You can see more renderings—and listen to the 85 decibels of traffic noise—here. Dig it?

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  • daveinbedstuy

    “In the year 2525, if god is still alive…”

  • Is that is supposed to be 2018?

  • omg! noise in the city!!! panic on msn!! honestly tho, infrastructure projects like these are good as they keep people employed. i just wish renderings like the one above, and all renderings of buildings, etc, didn’t paste people in them. it kills the mood and vision and can skew a viewer’s thought process about the project itself.

    *rob*

  • Biff Champion

    “Is that is supposed to be 2018?”

    Yes, that is the start date of the project, cobblehiller. Mr. B must have been confusing it with 2108, the expected completion date…right after the Brooklyn Bridge Park is finished.

  • $#$%ing Rattner’s at it again. Oh, wait . . . ;-)

  • It seems like a civilized solution to an age-old urban problem. No one wants to eat tapas under the roar of a busy freeway. If this were some pleasant European city, or perhaps Japan, such barricades would probably already exist, improving the quality of life for everyone. Since this is New York, I sincerely doubt the project will come to fruition.

  • 85 decibels is a conservative estimate for the noise level. I’d say it’s an almost constant 85-dB, with highs going into the high 90-dB range for sustained periods of time. If I had more time on my hands I’d go down there with my dB meter (yes, I have one) and get some real-time readings.

    Noise Pollution is why I’ll walk dozens of blocks out of my way to avoid certain Brooklyn thoroughfares…

  • quote:
    If this were some pleasant European city, or perhaps Japan, such barricades would probably already exist, improving the quality of life for everyone. Since this is New York, I sincerely doubt the project will come to fruition.

    you do know some people don’t WANT nyc to become some lame-o copy of a european city, right?

    i like my noise and stink and grit the way it is thank you.

    *rob*

  • “i like my noise and stink and grit the way it is thank you.”

    I bet you wouldn’t feel the same way if you had to live next to it. This would be an amazing project, however, given that this is New York, it will never happen. Sigh.

  • are you forced to live next to the bqe? no. there’s nothing worse than people who moan and complain about urban life and say oh if it was only like europe. blah blah blah. go to europe then! some of us like the noise, and i can tell you straight out that it was 10x noisier on my block when i lived in harlem than it is on the bqe. if the person with the noise reader (lol) wants to go check it, do so. people please stop trying to turn nyc into a sleepy suburb.

    *rob*

  • It would be so cool. And practical- now that’s a rare combination in any case. The BQE is one of the worst parking lots…er…roadways in the city.

  • > “i like my noise and stink and grit the way it is thank you.”

    And yet you left Jersey.

  • I love all these posts a lot. The 2108 projected completion date of the BBP is pretty funny as is Rob’s comment that he doesn’t want to live in no stinkin’ European city.
    This mutant tennis bubble over the BQE is hillarious and I must say it is bringing out the best writing wit in many of us.

    Can you just imagine? The DOT can’t fix the potholes on the highway but someone expects them to deal with this? Actually the whole cantilever is kind of shaky. I can foresee a scenario where the highway is turned into a park ala the highline, with community vegetable gardens, while car and truck traffic will be diverted onto a new surface highway along the waterfront. Problem solved!

  • It does look pretty cool, but for accuracy, the rendering should have wall to wall traffic, much of it trucks, drawn in, leaving no space for another vehicle. That would also change the decibels, as traffic crawling along at the speed of an arthritic snail sounds very different than traffic zipping along like you were on Route 17 near Binghamton.

  • It looks like the Stimulus money is trickling down to the design services sector. I guess you have to keep us busy doing something.
    I can think of a million things 50 million dollars could be used for before this.

  • It looks good on paper, but let me throw a couple things out there 1) What will this do to the view from the Promenade? maybe nothing, but it does project pretty far. 2) to they think they will be able to keep French Spidermen and drunken tourists from climbing out onto that from the Promenade? So suddenly they’ll have to line the Promenade with razor wire?

  • The bubble actually covers the BQE and Furman Street.
    I would really like it if there was a waterslide built in that one could use to get from the promenade to the piers.
    Now that’s futuristic!

  • Is that how those people got down there? With suction cup feet?

  • Best skateboard slope ever!!

  • benson

    Imagine the “scratchitti”!!!

    Man, do we need a new Robert Moses back in this town. He’d know what to do with these plans.

  • You’re welcome to your dirt and grit and noise, Rob. The rest of us will continue to dream of better air quality, better views, less noise pollution, and a general public attention to the pleasantness of our hometown.

    One needn’t wish for suburbia to envision a better New York.

  • East New York

    Nice thingy.

  • I think you people are getting too drunk in Europe – (or aren’t in the big cities of Europe) cause the traffic decibels in most of the European cities I have visited (London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Milan, Florence) is as loud or louder than most places in NYC – Especially in Italy (those scooters are so frikin loud its deafening)

  • The thing I have noticed about Europe is that nobody drives old cars. All the cars are very late model. And so are the trucks. By comparison, NY is like a junk yard museum. The other incredible thing is that their roads are finished. In New York our roads are never finished, they are always being rebuilt and rebuilt and the place looks like it is recovering from a war or an earthquake, although the recovery never concludes. How long have they been rebuilding the BQE? The Harlem River Drive? The Bruckner?
    Unbelievable. How many times in the past twenty years have they rebuilt the approach ramps to the Brooklyn Bridge? Is this corruption or what?

  • “You’re welcome to your dirt and grit and noise, Rob. The rest of us will continue to dream of better air quality, better views, less noise pollution, and a general public attention to the pleasantness of our hometown.”

    ***Delusion***

    “are you forced to live next to the bqe? no. there’s nothing worse than people who moan and complain about urban life and say oh if it was only like europe. blah blah blah. go to europe then! some of us like the noise, and i can tell you straight out that it was 10x noisier on my block when i lived in harlem than it is on the bqe. if the person with the noise reader (lol) wants to go check it, do so. people please stop trying to turn nyc into a sleepy suburb.”

    Spot-On Rob!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • sam- does it have anyhting to do with the size of the cars Americans tend to drive- don’t we go in for bigger, heavier vehicles, and a much heavier volume of traffic? I always had the impression that Europe was not os car dependent as we are.

  • benson

    Sam;

    The reason you don’t see old cars in Western Europe (or Japan for that matter) is that used cars are usually shipped to less-developed markets like Eastern Europe or SE Asia. Both regions’ governments facilitate these markets in order to support their manufacturers. It kind of forces people in the wealthy areas to buy a new car.

    I agree with FSRQ that the noise level in European and Asia cities is higher. For all the brow-beating we like to do, traffic in NYC is alot better than in many other world-class cities, thanks to…..Robert Moses and his foresight.

  • Mr Brownstoner,

    Are you going to add a way we can “share” topics like other blogs have to social networking site?

    I would like to share with some friends!

  • bxgirl, I think Europeans are every bit as car-dependent as we are. I think the difference may be that poor people, minority people, tend not to live in the center cities of Europe but rather in the periphery. The opposite of here.
    What tourists and business people see is the wealthy beautiful urbane central districts -not the decrepit suburbs. I have been to Paris many times but have never visited the suburbans areas where the riots happened last year. Same thing in London, the aristocratic classes live in the center of town and in the countryside, the suburbs are for the middle class and poorer folks depeding on the community. Actually the same pattern is true in Latin America. The rich live in the inner city and the poor live in the “favelas” in what we would call the suburbs. Americans are peculiar. We are, and always have been, anti-urban.

  • Sometimes I think we still see ourselves as the early pioneers, roaming free on the plains, heroically adventurous ( and totally living in a fantasy world with a short memory of how cruel the early pioneers actually could be). Tell me what you mean by anti-urban. Do you mean because so many people have fled to the suburbs and we concentrated so much on building them?

  • Not only that, but our founding fathers were anti-urban.
    Read Jefferson’s writings. He felt that the cities were the centers of corruption and vice. The countryside was uplifting both morally and physically. And he was one of the most progressive and least religious of the founding fathers. Adams hated the mix of religions in the city. Franklin was an urbanite, but he lived in Paris and for a Quaker, was pretty confortable with French morals.
    Americans like space and the open road. I think many tend to associate cities with dangerous criminal elements and society snobs.
    That is changing of course. But slowly.

  • rob- Thanks, but I think I’ll stay in Brooklyn where I have lived all my life. It’s not a crime to envision better things for this city. If you like, however, you can take some of the dirt from Brooklyn and your arrogance back to Jersey.

  • All I can think of is how dirty that thing will look in a week from the fumes, dirt and dust of the city. Yet another job created just to wash this thing.

  • benson

    Sam and Bxgrl;

    I think you are confusing the notions of an established farmer type (such as our founding fathers) with the early pioneers.

    With regard to the latter type, many Americans (myself included) look fondly to this image, and with good reason. It captures the spirit of enterprise, of “new roads” that has much to do with our accomplishments.

    Consider just a few facts;

    -in the past 20 years, we have created whole new industries and great corporations from nothing. Where is the European or Japanese equivalent of Google, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Apple and others. The answer: virtually non-existent.

    -fact number 2: there has been ZERO growth in Western Europe over the past 20 years. They have added virtually NO new jobs to their economy. The result? A slow-motion demographic death-spiral.

  • > ‘there has been ZERO growth in Western Europe over the past 20 years.”

    Damn right. Here in America we prefer ever-worsening cycles of bubble and bust.

  • moi, confused??? :-)

    I think, well at least I was referring to sam’s comment that Americans are anti-urban and I thought that was related to our self-fantasy of the American pioneer or cowboy. Somewhere deep down we object ot cities because we have a whole mythos about the pioneers.

    But yes, what you say is true about our spirit and our spirit of enterprise.

  • benson

    Snark;

    No bust going on in Europe or Japan???? Skipping the “world news” section lately???

  • This is pretty funny. The noise still has to go somewhere and it will go into Brooklyn heights! This whole section of the highway was built as the result of Brooklyn Height’s power to stop some guy named Moses and it resulted in the first landmarked area of NYC with a landmarked view plain(the proposal is under the view plain so it is technically allowed) The BQE is being systematically rebuilt…some of it has been done already and they just announced the plans for the Kosciusko bridge part. The rebuilding of this section between Atlantic Avenue and tillary street is estimated to be in excess of 1 billion dollars. It may well be the most expensive non bridge highway in the country. the Proposal to build a tunnel under the east river to replace this section has and is being considered. The problem of course is the East River here has many tunnels under neath it already and this will probably be more expensive than Boston’s Big Dig. As for the concept, its nice it may work but it will need to come with a lot of windex.

  • Well, we do have a big greed factor too. I think Americans are a very conflicted group.

    I also have to say the Europe has gone though so many wars, so much horror over the centuries that perhaps they would rather not do so again. Slow and steady isn’t so bad wither.

  • But its so pretty! I realize I am reacting to it as an art piece, not a practical structure.

  • either! either! darn keyboard never works the way it should

  • You’re absolutely wrong when you say Europe is as car-dependent as we are, sam. Just look at the infrastructure…do you EVER see 10-lane freeways and 16-lane roads? No 15-yr old kids ever have cars. The mileage driven is less. Gas is 2x to 4x times as expensive.

    What about the hi-speed (and low-speed) trains to everywhere? You can take a train to most places and there’ll be a taxi waiting (or on call) to take you the ‘last mile’; in how many rural areas could you do so here? I can’t even go visit my friends in Claryville (Catskills) w/o a car, and the rest of this country is abysmal compared to the NE.

    Benson (where is the growth)…I’ll gladly take the European death-spiral over our dog-eat-dog every-(wo)man-for-himself, property-is-king society any day, and revel in free health care, ease of transit, 6-week vacations, child-care and a more relaxed life-style.

  • > “No bust going on in Europe or Japan????”

    Oh they’re screwed too.

    Of course that European “socialist” safety net means less pain on a personal level.

  • I could use a socialist safety net right about now.

  • benson

    CMU and Snark;

    You might choose the European model over the US, but tens of millions of immigrants, both low-skilled and high-skilled, have voted with their feet on the matter.

  • Tens of millions of European immigrants have emigrated to the US since the institution of these safety nets?

  • benson

    Snark;

    Obviously not, as Europe is on a demographic decline, as I noted above. However, it still remains a fact that 100′s of thousands of highly-skilled Europeans emigrate to the US over a decade, as just a walk through Brooklyn will attest to. Added to that are 10′s of millions of low-skill immigrants who know where the opportunities lie.

  • > “100′s of thousands of highly-skilled Europeans”

    So, we are down from 10s of millions to hundreds of thousands. Mathemagically speaking, you have gone from being 100% correct to 1%.

    > “10′s of millions of low-skill immigrants”

    The largest number of these cross the border from Mexico. If they bordered France, they’d go there.

  • this thread reminds me of that things white people love thread… one of them being threatening to move to europe.

    *rob*

  • benson

    Oh come on, Snark, you’re just playing games with words.

    Last time I looked, Western Europe is right across the Straits of Gibraltar or the Straits of Messina from impoverished Africa.

    Anyone who works in our corporations finds lots of highly-skilled Europeans who come here seeking opportunity. Ever hear of Andy Grove, the former chairman of Intel? How about George Soros? Please show me how many Americans emigrate to Europe in search of opportunity, and find it. Is there an equivalent to Andy Grove in Europe?

  • Well, the differential between CEO compensation in America and Europe is an obvious appeal.

    How well that is working out for anybody besides those CEOs, well, that’s another matter.

  • Some of the comments on Europe are so way-off-the-mark, I don’t know where to begin…

    Listen, Sam: you are dead wrong, saying Europeans are just as car-centric as we are. Since you admit to having never been in the poor suburbs of Paris ['les banlieues'], I’ll go ahead and educate you: the people there are mostly POOR. Owning/driving a car anywhere in Europe – and especially in Paris – is EXPENSIVE. The result is the people on the outskirts are highly dependent on public transport – one of the many reasons why they feel cut-off from the more prosperous parts of the city.

    As for Western Europe in-general, they tax the hell out of gasoline. The result is they drive smaller cars, drive newer [more efficient/less polluting] cars & mostly they drive a lot, lot less than we do! They generally have excellent public transportation – clean, prompt, relatively cheap – which means car ownership is strictly a luxury in most big Euro cities. Kind of like NYC…

    Finally, Snark, you are correct: the European social safety net is making this whole disaster a lot less painful for many of them.

    But Benson, it’s incorrect to say that European economies have been in the doldrums for decades. As Snark pointed-out, they have traded boom-and-bust for slow-and-steady. The fact that a ‘slow growth’ economy is anathema to most Americans says a lot about the brainwashing that’s been going-on by Wall Street, the financial media, GOP, etc.

    And Benson, please spare us the examples of a tiny, tiny handful of entrepeneurs who came to America and made it big. First off, most continental Europeans who are hyper-ambitious go to the UK, NOT the US. Secondly, why don’t you take the time to list all the European millionaires who made it big while staying in their home country? I’ll give you a head-start [and he's a billionaire]: Richard Branson.

  • The most I ever paid for a bridge toll was in Denmark it was $30.00 to cross a bridge—most people take the train. The roads were much less crowded than here but parking was a nightmare…because they park anywhere.

  • Well played, parkedslope. Benson was having a Bobby Jindal moment: “Americans can do anything…”

  • I think the europeans are as car crazy as the Americans. The high speed trains are very expensive and are used most by business people and tourists and maybe older people who do not drive. everyone else takes the car. And the traffic jams in Germany and France and italy are as bad as anything you may experience in LA. I have been all over Europe by car. Believe me, I had a lot of company on the autobahns and the vias de auto. The worst drivers are in Scotland, they are lunatics. The Italians were very cordial (surprise). The Germans are ruthless and will push you off the road if you are doing less than ninety miles an hour.

  • sam how dare you say something negative about the earthly utopia known as europe!!

    *rob*

  • East New York

    “The Italians were very cordial (surprise).”

    When I visited Palermo, the traffic was cordial, I guess, but scary – the city center had no traffic lights, and basically people were expected to step into intersections FIRST, and then the cars (theoretically) would stop and let people cross. Only problem was those guys were FLYING, and it took guts to step into that crosswalk! Even as a NY native, I was a bit intimidated. This was several years ago and I’m not sure what it’s like now.

  • benson

    Parked Slope;

    If their social safety net is making this whole thing less painful for them, then why were they ready to go to the mat with President Obama about doing something “big” to get them out of their doldrums? Nice guys, those Europeans, trying to get the US to spen $1 trillion so that they can continue to spend 4 weeks of vacation. Well, we pay for their defense, why not their stimulus?

    You have still avoided my questions. Please identify the European Google or Intel. Please cite some statistics to show the growth in employment in Western Europe. Please show me where their economies have grown to assimilate ANY immigrants. Please try to convince me that they are NOT going through a demographic death spiral, to the point where governments are now trying to bribe people to have children and make it affordable?

    My point with regard to Andy Grove remains. You cite the fact that they might go to the UK, but as you probably know, the UK is considered to be an “Anglo-American” country by the European continentals. In fact, the French and Germans call all the countries like the UK, the USA, Australia, etc. the “Anglo-Saxons” or the “Anglo-Americans”, because of the similarities in their culture, language and approach to political economy. Please show me ONE ambitious American executive who went to Europe to seek their fortune.

    I can tell you this: I work for a major japanese company, and on their behalf I have opened offices in Europe. The bureauacracy and costs are not to be believed. That is the reason we invest the minimal amount possible there.

    Finally, Sam is absolutely right about Europeans and cars. Their cars are smaller because they make less money and gas is taxed to the hilt. I challenge anyone to take the subways of Milan at 8 PM and find how many Italians are actually on them. I’ve been there, and i’ve seen it for myself.

  • Benson – I think the reason that Europeans went against Obama on stimulus is BECAUSE they feel they spend enough on a social safety net in order to not need a fiscal stimulus at this time….or a more honest/cynical way to say it is – they already have massive debt (relative to GDP) for their social programs and cant borrow anymore to fund fiscal stimulus.

    That being said, similar to the IMHO misinformed comments about the volume of road noise in Europe, I think alot of people here are basing their opinions of European living standards on limited experiences gleaned through vacation travel.

    The trade-off is far from fast+loose vs slow and steady; Europe has had MUCH higher unemployment that the U.S. for years, they have a much larger demographic crisis coming (not enough young workers to support the elderly and non-working) and their modern history suggests their prospect for growth and innovation is limited [which means that they are less able to deal with coming problems - like global warming, terrorism, etc...]
    - There is much to be envied about the “European” way (like all that vacation time) but everything comes with trade-offs and if you believe that the Europeans have some how figured out some Utopian model then I have a beach Condo in Spain to sell you.

  • I would much rather be poor in Europe than in the US.
    However I would rather be rich in the US than in Europe.

  • Wow Benson, now you’re saying the UK is American?

    Step away from the mic, Mr. Jindal, it’s embarrassing.

  • benson

    Snark;

    I didn’t coin the term the “Anglo-American sphere”, Mr. Chirac of France did. He used this term in his “brilliant” speech in which he said that the internet is a ploy by the said Anglo-American sphere to spread its influence.

  • > I didn’t coin the term the “Anglo-American sphere”

    Got it. I just assumed you were using it in order to counter the entrepreneurial example of Richard Branson, claiming him for “America” rather than “Europe.”

  • Benson -per the IMF, the current severe slow-down in Europe is largely due to their exposure to US financial markets:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSWAT00928920080409
    ["The International Monetary Fund slashed its economic growth forecast for Europe on Wednesday, warning that its financial markets were exposed to the troubled U.S. housing sector and credit conditions were tightening."]

    As for their ‘decades’ of lagging behind us, I suggest you read this very insightful analysis by Ron Rifkin:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,366944,00.html
    ["If you measure the economy by GDP, you could say, the US is doing well. But remember, the EU's GDP exceeded ours in 2003. So if the European Union is moribund and falling apart, if it's a museum filled with pampered workers, an aging population and inflexible labor, then how come its GDP exceeded our 50 states in 2003? Yes, they have a bigger population, but they also have a sizable GDP."]

    The argument that Europe is some sort of socialist backwater is baloney. I don’t know why you’re quoting Chirac – the current President of France is being called ‘Sarko the American’ precisely because of his desire to change labor conditions in-favor of industry.

    Likewise, the UK is certainly part of Europe – not only geographically but politically. They may not be part of the Eurozone, but the UK’s governing style & business models are much more akin to Germany & France than the US. Nice try, but no cigar!

    I can’t speak to Milanese subway ridership, but I can vouch that the trains in London, Paris & Berlin are packed during rush-hour!

    As for innovative European businesses, think about Vivendi buying Universal, pharmaceutical giants like Bayer [yes, as in Bayer aspirin!] which has its hands in everything from pills to plastics, BMW [or, do you prefer Chrysler?], etc etc etc! And while the French failed to capitalize on their Minitel internet predecessor, they didn’t have our dot.com bubble either.

    And speaking of failed US automakers, what do you make of Sweden refusing to take-over Saab after GM essentially ruined that emblematic mark?

  • sixyearsandcounting

    All these Americans here turning toward the European model (and away from the obvious fact that yes, many things are possible for immigrants to this country that simply aren’t possible in Europe) will soon turn “Yes we can!” into “No we can’t!”. The continental European welfare state might work there. It will not work here, nor do most Americans want to see it here.

  • “it will not work here, nor do most Americans want to see it here”

    Yeah, bloody unfortunate. The tiny numbers of super-entrepreneurs, CEOs and sports jocks have it better here,no doubt, than in Europe. The upper middle class? It’s probably a wash. But for the rest of the mob which you guys,Benson, sam, 6years, it’s vastly better in Europe than here. That’s incontrovertible.

    So yeah, for someone like me, solidly middle-class but never rich, I’d MUCH rather have the safety net, the benefits and the vacations.

    The problem with so many people in America is that think (and vote) against their self-interest (hence the lower-income Republicans, all of whom have been screwed by their party for 50 years and are still laying back and convinced they enjoy it.) That and being convnced that they too, may dothe equivalent of winning the lottery and then, dammit, their money is THEIRS and no tax shall be taken, makes us one of the most inequitable of western democracies.

    Other countries don’t innovate? Rubbish, evn if true, so what? Is having Google better than having health insurance and an efficient transit system and the arts being subsidized and safe streets and little gun violence?

  • benson

    Parked Slope and CMU;

    I think we’re going to have to just agree to disagree. I’ve read the articles you cited, and I remain in my stand. All I can say for myself is that when I was younger, I used to think that they were so much more advanced over there, but close-up experience with Europe has shown me otherwise.

    A few points on my side:

    -I always get a kick when folks compare crime in Europe to over here, as Rifkin does. This country has taken in more immigrants and downtrodden than the rest of the world combined. It has people from every race on earth here. Will there be problems, as such? You bet. How does “Club Europe” do in this regard? How’s it going with the immigrants France has holed up in public housing on the outskirts of Paris? Let’s not even talk about the raw anti-semitism that is fashionable in many parts of Europe these days.

    -You are mistaking past glories and brands -such as Bayer – with the present. Quick question: if you were a venture capitalist today, where would you put your money: aspirins or internet search engines?

    -Parked Slope, please note that even Rifkin ackowledges that the UK is trending towards the US model.

    -Yeah, I’ll give the Europeans points on luxury brands. Why not? If you’re an old dying society, might as well go out in style.

    -CMU: Google and other companies like it have vastly improved the lives of many, many folks, not just those who founded it. I know people who work for Goofle, and they lead a nice existence.

  • The European welfare system will not work hear because in Europe people are raised on a no credit belief society. You buy when you have saved up. In Europe they have pensions of 7-800 Euros a month. Do you see our seniors living with 800 dollars a month. Then again we have credit cards and never have to pay them back anyway. I love the idea of closing in all the pollution of the BQE, Sort of like what they did to reactor number 4 in Cernoybil. Someone has to pay these architects for drawing?