Battery Carousel will start rotating by August ….

CurbedNY article After years of delay … the signs up at the Battery still say “Opening 2013!”… the SeaGlass Carousel is scheduled to open in August, 2015, according to reports in CurbedNY and Untapped Cities. Perhaps it was delayed because of the seemingly endless landscaping work being done in the park … or maybe it was financing – the Curbed article states that “As of late May, deep-pocketed patrons still had the opportunity to sponsor a fish for a mere $100,000.” The nautical themed carousel is unique with some interesting features. The ride will cost a very reasonable five dollars, so it should prove to be very popular among the tourists who walk by this park in droves, just looking around for something to do. . Untapped Cities article New structures and landscaping in the Battery are getting their finishing touches, so that the park, which has been a torn up mess for several years, is beginning to sign with renewed beauty. For more description of the ride experience and the carousel’s structure, click on the photos to be directed to the relevant articles.

What lucky neighborhood got the Mental Health Housing? Port Richmond

UPDATE: On July 21, 2015,  Community Board #1 voted overwhelming against the project. State Senator Diane Savino said, “We have too many questions.” State Assemblyman Matthew Titone said that St. Joseph’s track record was “abysmal,” and City Council Member Debi Rose said she was tired of “the North Shore being the dumping ground.”

When St. Joseph’s Hospital, located in Westchester County, planned to convert the vacant former convent on Fort Place in St. George to transitional dormitories for the mentally ill, it was thwarted by community opposition in a long, agonizing legal battle. The convent will now be converted to residential use. But St. Joseph’s was not discouraged, and persevered in its mission to bring mentally health housing to Staten Island, (rather than to its own Westchester County neighborhood). They came up with a new plan. They will build it on Port Richmond Avenue.

Rendering of St. Joseph Hospital's plan for 110 Port Richmond Avenue, via DNAinfo.

Rendering of St. Joseph Hospital’s plan for 110 Port Richmond Avenue, via DNAinfo.

Quite possibly this will be a facility that will serve the needs of the community and help people transition to full re-integration after hospital (or prison!) stays. On the other hand, it can turn into a mismanaged warehouse for humans that becomes a nightmare for the neighborhood. It all depends on St. Joseph’s commitment to the project and the community’s vigilance. The local community must be kept in the loop as to how this is being set up and St. Joseph’s should be required to monitor the impact of their facility on the neighborhood socially, economically and in services. They should also be required to use the housing for Staten Islanders in need of services, and not ship clients in from other counties (or from Sing Sing, as St. Joseph’s had been planning). The Port Richmond Community Board has already voiced its opposition, but this will not block the project.

110 Port Richmond Avenue at present, via Google Maps

110 Port Richmond Avenue at present, via Google Maps

They’ve invented the Wheel! The New York Wheel is finally being built in St. George.

As with any large project that is so transformative and audacious, it has always been difficult to believe that the New York Wheel would ever get built. The groundbreaking has been postponed several times and the completion date has become one of those fictional futures that hang like a fig leaf over delayed projects for years beyond their expiration. Like most residents of the neighborhood, I have had a wait and see attitude: I’ll believe it when I see it!

Ear-pounding pile-driving going on.

Ear-pounding pile-driving going on.

But now it seems that it is actually inching closer to reality and I can almost see it… or at least the most fundamental innards of it. On a walk along the shoreline today, I snapped these photos of work in progress on the Wheel. It is a real, functioning construction site, with a couple of dozen workers busy at work digging and pile-driving and driving around in their gadgety construction vehicles. It is a welcome sight for those of us eager for some change in this neighborhood.

Thus, the Wheel joins the Empire Outlet Mall, already under construction and presages the start of construction of the Lighthouse Point project, all ferry-terminal-hugging projects at the center of St. George redevelopment.

More construction activity at the water's edge. Is this where the unloading pier will be built?

More construction activity at the water’s edge. Is this where the unloading pier will be built?