Keep The Park Way Down In A Hole
March 26, 2016 11:57 AM   Subscribe

 
Sounds expensive. Better they should improve the subway.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:01 PM on March 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


While it's an amazing concept I can't help but thinking, no way. I spent a lot of time in the park when I lived in NYC. A lot of memories, very fond memories. From youth to middle age. This would essentially destroy the original park, right? It just doesn't seem like a thing to do. Selfish of me, I know.
posted by Splunge at 12:01 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


this is an extremely practical proposal.

on the other hand, it would definitely be a "shovel ready" stimulus project...
posted by ennui.bz at 12:01 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Those wall murals would be vandalized beyond recognition within a week.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:03 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


No.
posted by STFUDonnie at 12:03 PM on March 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


You would have even more usable area by putting central park on top of a massive arcology
posted by vuron at 12:06 PM on March 26, 2016 [15 favorites]


This strikes me about the same way as putting a casino on the top of Half Dome would. Not well.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:06 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I propose turning it into a giant air hockey table.
posted by bongo_x at 12:06 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


A: hey, what are we going to do with all this dirt
B: just make a giant dirt pile where nobody will notice, like the upper west side or harlem or w/e
posted by theodolite at 12:07 PM on March 26, 2016 [10 favorites]


"The soil removed from the original park is relocated to various neighborhoods, which will be demolished and moved into the new structure. This creates a new urban condition, where landscape can serve as an inherent part of the city."
posted by ChuraChura at 12:08 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just dam the east river and fill it + LI sound with tenements. Way easier and ecologically practical considering rising water.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:11 PM on March 26, 2016


Once again, New York takes credit for novel thinking when Chicago did it first.
posted by eamondaly at 12:11 PM on March 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Is 100 ft deep below the water line? Of two major rivers? Yes it is. Didn't read far enough to see if there were plans for high volume solar sump pumps.
posted by sammyo at 12:12 PM on March 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


Whatever I imagined before clicking the link was 100% less bananas than the actual content.

Kind of a relief to see we're just looking at some Popular Science ass bullshit.

I do like the arcology idea of just raising the whole park.. Put some affordable housing under there.
posted by selfnoise at 12:12 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man this whole website is like Dwell for aspiring intergalactic colonial armies
posted by theodolite at 12:12 PM on March 26, 2016 [35 favorites]


Most of the contest entries seem to be like this. The runner up is a skyscraper designed as a base for drones called "The Hive".
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:12 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Demolishing neighborhoods, moving them into this megastructure and replacing them with landscaped hills? So basically eminent domain all of the remaining homeowners into a big glass rental cage and shunt all of the poor people out of NYC? Lovely.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:20 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


The annual award established in 2006 recognizes visionary ideas for building high- projects that through the novel novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.

This is tagged "thoughtexperiment", but I just thought it would be rendered a little more clear that this is one of those sorts of proposals that isn't designed to actually happen; it's an exercise in lateral thinking. Or, I guess, vertical thinking? For something called the Skyscraper Competition, I think it's very cool that they took the usual idea of a skyscraper but built down, without dooming all the theoretical residents to looking at blank walls for eternity. Entirely impractical in the real world, but feels vaguely plausible in the not-too-far-future-sci-fi-movie kind of sense.
posted by Sequence at 12:27 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's kind of interesting in that theoretical sense, but when they say, "Is there a way to make Central Park available to more people?" I think they mean, "Is there a way to make Central Park available to more able people?"
posted by Candleman at 12:28 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone thinks this will seriously happen, and there are numerous negative consequences that some of you pointed out above, but this really does show imagination and creativity on a grand scale - and our problems today are sufficiently large that small scale ideas aren't going to hack it.

Think of it as the architecture version of SF.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:30 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's just gross.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:32 PM on March 26, 2016


It is not April yet.
posted by rustcrumb at 12:32 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


If NYC wants to build a mega-structure, maybe they should focus on an inhabitable sea wall, as a hedge against sea level rise an super-storms (pdf). Just hope no mega-storms wreck it though. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 12:33 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mouse Rat (formerly Scarecrow Boat) to play their signature tune at the opening?
posted by howfar at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


> "Is there a way to make Central Park available to more able people?"

Hmm, don't see ablism anywhere in this proposal. Most of the inaccessible areas created would seem to be inaccessible to anyone who isn't a rock climber.

Modern Central Park is really quite accessible, particularly for a 150-year-old park, but there are areas like The Ramble which are deliberately a lot less paved and navigable. I would not want to lose The Ramble in its present form...

Accessible in a park means to me that most areas are accessible to nearly everyone, not that every square inch is accessible to absolutely every one. A park needs to appeal to a great mass of people, which means e.g. skateboard half-pipes and trees to climb, as well as access for people of wide range of abilities to as much of the park as possible.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:39 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


When Google, one of the most powerful entities on Earth, and an organisation one would hope for vision from, is recreating Centre Parcs as their pisspoor, backward-looking "Googleplex", I am glad to see someone dreaming of a future that looks like a future today, rather than from the perspective of 1965.
posted by howfar at 12:49 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seems like a great idea. Rents will never go down unless you increase capacity, duh. Manhattan should be more like Mega City One if it wants to be maintain its status as an important city.
posted by nom de poop at 12:56 PM on March 26, 2016


don't see ablism anywhere in this proposal.

It would flat out decrease the area available to people without full mobility. Taking a public space and making it less accessible to people with disabilities or age without even given thought to the consequences of those changes is an almost textbook definition of ableism.

This image is an excellent representation of this way of thinking - in the name of making it "more" available, they show a landscape that is inaccessible to anyone that's not fit, empty of people, other than a single, young, Caucasian looking man.

It's fun to think, "could we make a mountain in NYC?" as a thought experiment, but it's insulting to claim to set out to make something *more* available and make it less to significant portions of the populace. I don't think they set out to disenfranchise people with this design, I think they're blind to their own privilege and that's a dangerous thing in designers.
posted by Candleman at 1:05 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Haven't these people seen any dystopian sf at all? Everybody knows that Future NY will either involve filling in the rivers, or flooding the city, or building an entire new city on top.
posted by zompist at 1:06 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


NYC's skyrocketing rent has very little to do with demand and everything to do with how our laws are structured. It's not in anyone's favor to ever lower rent
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


(I personally have always wanted to dam the rivers and turn all the reclaimed land into a huge national park but I can never figure out what you'd do with jersey city being turned into lake Hudson)
posted by The Whelk at 1:10 PM on March 26, 2016


This will come in handy during hurricane season.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:11 PM on March 26, 2016


I'm confused by the "1000-feet tall, 100-feet deep": does this mean the hole is 100 feet down, or 1000? The third diagram's "level -55 -1000 feet" suggests the latter.

Which, yes: water table; plus that's a hell of a retaining wall around all 4 sides. Plus I suspect they're orders of magnitude off on the amount of spill that'd have to be carted out of there one truckload at a time: this is basically a huge open-cast mine.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:17 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I tried this but the liches started spilling out at level 6.
posted by benzenedream at 1:34 PM on March 26, 2016 [13 favorites]


With rising sea levels threatening NYC's very existence, maybe digging a big hole is the opposite of the direction you should be going?
posted by Bee'sWing at 1:40 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is entirely less like the GeoFront than I had hoped from the description.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:48 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


It would fill up like a bathtub during one of the many flooding events Manhattan will likely experience this century. Wouldn't the reflections from those mirrors be a potential heating hazard, too?
posted by constantinescharity at 1:52 PM on March 26, 2016


> It would flat out decrease the area available to people without full mobility.

It would flat out decrease the area available to almost everyone who is not a rock climber - from the very very limited information we have.

That's definitely weird, but it's not ableist, because it excludes the able as well as the disabled (and the disabled are surprisingly well represented in rock climbing, come to think of it...)

I applaud your focus on accessibility, but looking at an engineering project that would cost... I can't even estimate, hundreds of billions? using technology that doesn't even exist, and that turns much of Central Park into a dangerous, mountainous region that only a handful of New Yorkers could use for any purpose - and seeing the main objection as being accessibility is to ignore the fact that the whole thing is batshitinsane from start to finish.

What happens to all those sewer and water and electrical and communications pipes that are already there? The reservoir? What happens to all that traffic? Wouldn't it, like, fill with water when it rained?

In a real world project, after accessibility, I'd ask, "Where are the bike paths?" but of course, a bike path that dives 100 feet nearly straight down and then becomes micro-Alps is of no interest to anyone except a few crazies.

Don't get me wrong - I love this project, but take it as a beautiful artwork, not like a serious proposal.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:57 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I suspect they're orders of magnitude off on the amount of spill that'd have to be carted out of there one truckload at a time

uber dumptruck
posted by 7segment at 2:09 PM on March 26, 2016


Listen, it's easy. Whenever any planner, architect, or engineer describes his or her proposed project as a "megastructure" just ignore everything they say because they are unmoored from reality. Doing this would save municipalities billions of dollars.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:21 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think this is more sort of conceptual architect futurism than it is evil billionaires who actually think this should happen
posted by thelonius at 2:36 PM on March 26, 2016




The 1000-feet tall, 100-feet deep mega structure provides a total floor area of 7 square miles, which is about 80 times greater than the Empire State Building.

I have no idea what's being said here. How does digging 100 (1000? Tall?) feet down increase the area of the park more than fivefold? 80 times greater than... just all aspects of the ESB?
posted by cmoj at 2:38 PM on March 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's not very clear from the proposal, but I think the idea is that the "cliff" surrounding the new park area would actually be made up of residential units, office space, etc. In other words, imagine you took all the skyscrapers surrounding Central Park, copied them, buried them underneath the roads surrounding the park, and then excavated the park itself until one side of each building was exposed.
posted by chrominance at 2:47 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


a skyscraper designed as a base for drones called "The Hive"

sounds good to me, there is no way this could go dystopian
posted by threeants at 3:04 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, folks, we're going to make Mexico pay for it.
posted by uosuaq at 3:23 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


I just realized, drones are gonna evolve into those squid-like sentinels from The Matrix, aren't they?
posted by valkane at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's the stupidest idea I've ever seen.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:49 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just realized, drones are gonna evolve into those squid-like sentinels from The Matrix, aren't they?

Yes.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:51 PM on March 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


We need to increase NYC's housing capacity, because global warming isn't a thing that's going to destroy Manhattan and it will also kill 0% of the people so build this.
posted by eriko at 4:31 PM on March 26, 2016


Why not fill central park with an elaborate scale model landscape so it seems orders of magnitude bigger than it actually is, just like the renderings in the link?
posted by snofoam at 5:23 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


From the sounds of it, I could be wrong, but I don't think they're attempting to increase how many people can *visit* Central Park, although I think one could have done a similar proposal for this competition that would have been some kind of many-layered park that could be also very cool. But they seem to be attempting to increase the number of people who can just sort of... peripherally be exposed to the park on a regular basis, I think? People who will look out a window and see green. They'll see a *lot* of green, because their neighbors on the other side of the park have reflective windows--I think the intent is to make this like a park set in the middle of a rectangle of mirrors so that when you look outside, all you'll see is that. You won't see buildings on the other side, just the park receding off infinitely.

I'm not sure if even that'd really work, never mind all the stuff about excavation and water tables and all, but that's why I think it's at least a nifty sort of notion. I'm not sure they really intend the park itself in this plan to be a thing that exists to do what you do today, in terms of visiting specific locations in it and that being the primary point of its existence. It's no longer a place where you go to get a break from the urban landscape; for people who live down there, it *is* the landscape. Not really practical if you think about it too hard, since there's still plenty of city around it, so you go pretty quickly from Utopia to a weird dystopia where people who have park views see nothing but park, and people who don't live there have their access to the park significantly decreased.

But, hey. On a very surface level, anyway, I like the idea of having all the comforts of living in a big city but looking out my window and seeing no city at all.
posted by Sequence at 5:35 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


They get into it a bit more in the diagrams but it's tough to read because it's a low-res jpeg.

It seems the "1000 feet tall and 100 feet deep" is talking about a rectangular building that they would build around the perimeter of the park. Because it is a skyscraper competition, not a park competition. But by digging the park down 100 feet also, then people in the bottom floor of that building won't have to be underground.
posted by RobotHero at 5:40 PM on March 26, 2016


So how exactly do you "increase capacity" if all you're doing is relocate the park 100 feet lower? Doesn't compute.

If you really want to be able to put more people on the same surface area, simply raze the park, and pave over it, like a giant parking lot. Then have visitors stand shoulder to shoulder. I think you could easily accommodate a million people that way.
posted by monospace at 6:12 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Bronx is up, the Battery's down, people play in a hole in the ground.
posted by adamg at 6:26 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm not understanding this. Take the existing Central Park and dig down and this..."creates space along the wall." Huh? If it's the same Central Park footprint, how does making the edge a cliff create space? In any event this is wildly impractical. For one the hassle and expense of getting folks up and down this thing; that's a ton of elevators and escalators. For another the expense of water constantly pumped out of it, lest you have a Central Lagoon.

This is just SF concept art.
posted by zardoz at 6:41 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Parks And Rec: NYC

I refuse to believe this is what a Knope presidency would bring us. Maybe in the darkest timeline.

This could easily be a Ludgate project though.

posted by maryr at 6:41 PM on March 26, 2016


If NYC wants to build a mega-structure, maybe they should focus on an inhabitable sea wall, as a hedge against sea level rise an super-storms

Or, you know, whatever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:38 PM on March 26, 2016


From one of the diagrams, this would slightly decrease the footprint of the park, depending on the width of the wall/building/megastructure they build along the perimeter of the park.

And upon further examination of the diagrams, I think I misunderstood the "1000-feet tall, 100-feet deep" above. They do in fact suggest digging the park down 1000 feet. I'm still not clear where the 100 feet fit in, unless it's just that they dig another 100 feet down because why not.
posted by RobotHero at 7:39 PM on March 26, 2016


100 feet is not the vertical depth of the excavated park; it's the “thickness” of the wall-like structure that forms the perimeter of the park. This structure is 1000 feet from its top (at street level) to its bottom (at park level). It runs for six miles around the four sides of the park, and its outer edge is 100 feet from its inner edge.

It's this megastructure, not the park, that has 80 times more interior square footage than the Empire State Building. It would contain about 80 floors of office/living space, with a total of about 200 million square feet. That's enough space for about 50,000 studio apartments all with views of Central Park.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:10 PM on March 26, 2016 [14 favorites]


mbrubeck--I'm glad you can explain it much better than that article.
posted by zardoz at 8:32 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


So the idea is that the rectangular doughnut building around Central Park would expand the number of people exposed to the Park without impeding the views of the buildings that currently surround the Park. Neat (when taken as a thought experiment - there are problems with practicalities, obviously, including access and water levels and so on.)
posted by gingerest at 8:58 PM on March 26, 2016


This just makes me wonder what'll happen first: The hole fills with water, or the whole city collapses into the hole.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:59 PM on March 26, 2016


(And smog, I suppose - heavier-than-air pollutants would roll right into that basin and be impossible to clear out.)
posted by gingerest at 9:01 PM on March 26, 2016


(And smog, I suppose - heavier-than-air pollutants would roll right into that basin and be impossible to clear out.)

That was the basis for the perpetually foggy neighborhood created by damming the Hudson and building factories and tenements in the east river basin for that steampunk story I sold that I thought was super clever calling "the brass goggle factory worker"!
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 PM on March 26, 2016


There's a proposal to replace Central Park with a 100-foot deep megastructure to increase capacity

It's tough but fair.
posted by rhizome at 11:26 PM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


At summer solstice, if the online calculator is right, the 310 feet next to the southern wall is still in perpetual shade (the park is roughly 2500 feet wide). At winter solstice, that southern wall's shadow is more than 2000' long at mid-day. From roughly mid-October to mid-February, at least half the park is constantly in the shade.

That is going to be one dank, smelly hole. A far better design would have the southern wall be a step-pyramid style thing, giving the rich who live there terraces and allowing the sun in. But that means doubling the width of the park.

And does anyone want to be in the park on a summer's day as the mirrors reflect the intense sun into the humid, smelly fryer that is the sunny part of the park? The strip within 300' of the northern wall is going to be the UV fryer equivalent to the southern shade garden.
posted by maxwelton at 12:42 AM on March 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why not fill central park with an elaborate scale model landscape so it seems orders of magnitude bigger than it actually is, just like the renderings in the link?

Ever been to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure? It's Radiator Springs and some of the back country buttes seen in the film, built with care and a fanatical devotion to fooling the tourist into thinking that somehow they are inside the landscapes from the Pixar film. It's beyond surreal and straight into full-on hallucinatory.

You jest, but what you propose is a thing that has been done and which generates both revenue and rave reviews.
posted by mwhybark at 1:17 AM on March 27, 2016


cntl + F "pump" not found in article. forget this. this is a massive amount of diesel fuel just to continually move the water.
posted by eustatic at 10:45 AM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, the pumps could be electric. Let's see..
1268mm rain / year
3.5million m2
= 4.4 million m3 of water.
To pump that up 300m = 6GWh for the year
Less than a million for the electricity for the year, not too bad.
(about 700kW running continuously, not tiny, but not very big either). We're not accounting for surge capacity here.

Excavation - about 1 billion m3 of material, or 2 billion tonnes. (assuming all the way to the bottom). Say ~3 years, at 600 million tonnes a year, this is world's largest mine big, but it's not impossible.

Dumping that material 'all over town', with one of these is an exercise left to the reader.
posted by defcom1 at 9:51 AM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Excuse me, but it's not simply "dumping" dirt "all over town" it will be "relocated to various neighborhoods."
posted by RobotHero at 12:20 PM on March 28, 2016


Just think of how many parks can be built with that dirt.
posted by rhizome at 6:24 PM on March 28, 2016


Maybe just one big one, right in the middle of Manhattan.
posted by bongo_x at 6:46 PM on March 28, 2016


But they already built this ring-shaped building with millions of square feet. It'd be a disaster.
posted by rhizome at 7:17 PM on March 28, 2016


That is going to be one dank, smelly hole.

In New York?

No.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:44 PM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just think of how many parks can be built with that dirt.

I'm thinking of how tall a berm around NYC can be in case of sea level rise.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:02 AM on March 29, 2016


Well, the perimeter, enclosing an area from the tip of Manhattan to the Harlem river is 46km. So, with 1 billion m3 of material, you could build a berm, with an angle of 45°, about 210m high. 1 billion m3 turns out to be a lot of material.
posted by defcom1 at 6:24 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let's do it.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:53 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Meet up at the park with wheelbarrows and shovels, say noonish?
posted by bongo_x at 9:56 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sounds good, I'll bring the traffic cones.
posted by rhizome at 10:02 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


#FeelTheBerm
posted by mbrubeck at 11:57 AM on March 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


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