Happy 100th birthday Captain Cousteau!

Visit the Cousteau Society today to make a donation and become a custodian of the sea!

http://www.cousteau.org/membership

Do not forget to pick up your Cousteau red watch cap!  I am wearing mine, today, all around New York City!

Look for me!  I should not be hard to find!

http://www.cousteau.org/shop



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All posts are dated April and May 2009 due to chronological necessity, and yet, many posts are new!

Check out the research section for many of the most recent updates.



The Culmination

May 4, 2009

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Much to our relief and dismay, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s body was retrieved from an underground area near New York City Water Tunnel No. 3.  He attempted to do research on the sewergator, his most recent topic of investigation, alone and at night. He crawled through several tunnels until he found what he was looking for. We have included in this blog all of his research relating to this topic, as we are all certain that this would have been his wish.

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His last writing on the sewergator is as follows:

“I have just recently interviewed a member of the machine crew from Tunnel No. 3. According to the website, the tunnel

‘is one of the most complex and intricate engineering projects in the world. Constructed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the tunnel will eventually span 60 miles and is expected to be complete by 2020.

The size and length of the tunnel, its sophisticated control system, the placement of its valves in special chambers, and the depth of excavation, represent state-of-the-art technology. While City Tunnel No. 3 will not replace City Tunnels No. 1 and No. 2, it will enhance and improve the adequacy and dependability of the water supply system and improve service and pressure to outlying areas of the city. It will also allow the DEP to inspect and repair City Tunnels Nos. 1 and 2 for the first time since they were activated.’ (http://www.water-technology.net/projects/new_york/)

There have apparently been some sightings by the crew working on the tunnel. I must see to it that the alligator doesn’t evade me this time.

In order to insure this, I will go alone with my recording equipment. It is impossible to move about unheard in the depths with a crew of three men swishing about. One man is much quieter. There will also be less light, as I will be the only one carrying a light source, as opposed to three men. I can crawl into smaller spaces because of this as well.

It is intuitive that I should want to find this gator, gators, or community of alligators that exist below detection. It would not only be the answer to a long-standing myth, but it would testify to the resilience of nature herself. Persecuted and demonized, alligators are often relegated to the outskirts. And here, this is literally the case. They are unacknowledged citizens of the urban center. I intend to find them.”

These were the last words written by Captain Cousteau. He carried his recording equipment with him, and we have here posted the outcome of Captain Cousteau’s tireless research into the natural world.

Please see the video (below) for the last footage taken by Cousteau prior to his death…

This blog is in memory of Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s work and his lifelong dedication to the investigation of our world.

The Crew

Residence: Queens, New York

Incident Location: New York City Water Tunnel No. 3

“Hundreds of feet beneath the bumper-to-bumper traffic of New York City is one of the world’s most ambitious engineering projects. Though it goes by the prosaic name of City Water Tunnel No. 3, when work wraps up in 2020 the subterranean aqueduct will have taken five decades and at least $6 billion to complete. It will snake 60 miles from the Kensico Reservoir in Westchester County through the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, supplying water to more than 8 million residents and thousands of factories and businesses.

City Water Tunnels No. 1 and No. 2, finished in 1917 and 1936, transport more than a billion gallons of water daily, but they leak badly in places. In 1954, engineers realized the only way to repair and maintain the older tunnels–and to increase capacity to meet growing demand–was to build a third, more sophisticated tunnel with valves to shut down and divert the flow of water. Plus, it would provide a fallback should any portion of the system be damaged by an event like an earthquake.”

Age: 34

Gender: Male

Occupation: Sandhog

Injury or Fatality: No

Other Witnesses: Yes – Refused Comment

BEGIN RECORDING

Captain Cousteau: Hello Mike! Thank you for meeting with me. Please recount your sewergator encounter with as much detail as possible…

Mike Warfield: I use a pneumatic drill that sinks 10-ft. holes into the rock. Dynamite is then tamped in with wooden poles. We use a massive machine to bore through the longest stretches of bedrock, and I love the sometimes dangerous, always labor-intensive drill-and-blast work. Planning for the tunnel began in the 1960s, and in 1970 the “sandhogs” began to dig. My dad was one of the first sandhogs.

The guys I work with are the closest friends I have on Earth. If all hell breaks loose and a hog is in danger, you go after him, no questions asked. I trust them with my life.

We’d brought in some piping to drain off excessive water. It had been a rainy spring and water in the tunnel was knee-high. We were all wearing waders. It was hard to move. Hard to work.

I don’t know if the beast was in the piping upon arrival, or if the gator had managed to find it’s way into the tunnel on its own. Regardless, it was enormous!

I waded into the deeper water to pound in the dynamite. I was halfway across the waterway when I came face to face with the hungry gator. I looked back and the gator surfaced and I looked him right in the face and stared at him for what seemed like an eternity.

He dragged me under the water five times. Though I wasn’t aware at the time, my arm was being ripped off. The gator hit me in my stomach and knocked the wind out of me and I dug and took my finger and gouged its eye. It spun and turned around and went away from me. I didn’t know I was missing an arm until I was wading back.

I got away from him, luckily. I mean, it was just a fight for survival. He was trying to eat and I was trying not to get eaten. The whole time I just felt myself bleeding to death. The whole time I was just screaming for help and asking God for forgiveness. I was shouting and then men were applying pressure to prevent me from bleeding out. I was praying and after that everything went dark. They called 911 and the ambulance picked me up.

A New York Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission captured the 15-foot-long alligator responsible for the attack and destroyed it. The photo below was taken after the incident. A necropsy was performed on the gator and examiners were able to recover my arm, but were unable to reattach it. Nine months later I received a bionic arm – a gift from Mayor Bloomberg.

The gator was incinerated and all media was kept away to prevent mass hysteria. People shouldn’t know that these animals are living beneath their city. People shouldn’t have to worry about these beasts. This is New York! Not the Everglades!

Picture taken when Alligator was Found:

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Maps:

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I Spy a Sewergator in the MTA Art Card “All Around Town” by Béatrice Coron:

“All Around Town” by Beatrice Coron, depicts many interesting scenes and characters.  The piece went up in January of 2010 in over 2,800 subway cars as part of the MTA’s Arts for Transit program.
Visible on NYC Subways on Lines E, F, L, Q, W, and 6
The only part that MTA officials censored when she submitted the piece was the figures running atop subway cars, which she had to change to birds flying above.“When you’re in the subway, you want to dream and kind of escape from the place,” said the artist, who likes having her work on display in train cars because it’s a captive audience.  Coron said she likes adding a poetic touch to such a mundane experience – commuting underground – and giving people something to think about.  “It’s an interesting power,” Coron said. “It’s a door for imagination.”
From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28488028@N06/5452801996/
About the Artist:
Acclaimed French artist Béatrice Coron is a self-taught paper-cutter, first became familiar with cutting techniques in her native France, developing her interest and skill further while living in China.  Her hand-cut compositions, often populated with hundreds of carefully crafted figures, appear to burst with activity and life.  Now based in New York, Coron’s work has been well received and is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.  She has received several public art commissions including New York’s and Chicago’s respective Transit Authorities.
Artist’s Statement:

My work tells stories.  I invent situations, cities and worlds.  These compositions include memories, associations of words, ideas, observations and thoughts that unfold in improbable juxtapositions.  These invented worlds have their own logic and patterns.  Images are conveyed through words, whether automatic writing or premeditated scenes.  My creative inspiration comes from a text, a poem, the news or from a philosophical concept that can be reduced to a mere title.  I research collective memories and myths, questioning the notions of identity and belonging.  For each theme, I explore various narratives: one story leads to the next, and the creation process weaves different layers of our relations to the world.

My silhouettes are a language I have developed over the years; my point of view is both detailed and monumental.  Cutting from a single piece of material, the profusion of individual stories creates a coherent universe.  In my artist books and public art, where I play with full and empty shapes, everything must fall in place: one’s place in the world, one’s place in the city, one’s place in his or her body.  In my graphic style, windows are used not to see out but in, placing the spectator in an outsider/insider situation.  Shadows, reminiscent of film noir and voyeurism, leaves room for multiple interpretations.

Artist Website: http://beatricecoron.com/


Béatrice Coron

Béatrice Coron

About Arts for Transit:

As you travel through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority network, you experience a first-rate art museum with works created in mosaic, terra cotta, bronze, glass and mixed-media sculpture.

The founders of the New York City subway believed that every design element in the system should show respect for our customers and enhance the experience of travel.  Language was added to contracts that required the highest quality materials and craftsmanship.  This led to the extensive use of ceramic tile, terra cotta and mosaics as decorative elements. As the century-old transportation network is restored and renewed, these decorative elements of the past are preserved and protected as contemporary art and design are introduced.

In conjunction with a massive rehabilitation program launched in the 1980’s, MTA Arts for Transit was created to oversee the selection of artists and installation of permanent artworks in subway and commuter rail stations. The program encompasses Music Under New York, a Transit Poster Program and the Lightbox Project, a series of photography exhibits.

We invite you to discover and enjoy this diverse and beautiful collection of commissioned public artwork installed throughout the subway and commuter rail stations of the MTA.

History of Arts for Transit:

Arts for Transit was created nearly 25 years ago when the subway system was beginning to reverse years of decline through an ambitious capital improvement program.  The MTA’s leadership determined that original, engaging and integrated artworks should be part of the rehabilitation and construction process and civic leaders and arts professionals agreed, lending their prestige and support to various committees that developed the policies and procedures to include art as an integral part of the rebuilding effort.   The program’s establishment occurred as both the historic preservation and public art movements began to influence public policy and as cities nationwide began their own rebuilding programs.  Arts for Transit’s work continues to flourish in today’s environment, as the use of mass transit continues to grow, and more stations are rehabilitated, which in turn increases the presence of art in MTA stations.

The unique set of conditions within the subway system calls for durable materials that can easily be maintained. As a result, Arts for Transit projects are created in ceramic tile and mosaic and other media, such as bronze or glass.   The Arts for Transit program also plays an important role in the physical restoration and attention to design elements within the stations; this includes not only artwork, but gates, fare vending machines and even the design of subway cars.

The program remains faithful to the founders’ credo that the subway should be an inviting and pleasant environment, geared to the user, with the highest levels of design and materials.  New works of art follow these principles, as Arts for Transit upholds the high standards initiated over 100 years ago.

Art Card Program:

The Art Card Program was initiated in 1999.  The Program provides opportunities for illustrators, print, and other visual artists to create transit-themed artwork for display within new subway cars.  Subway riders have the opportunity to enjoy colorful imagery as a source of thought and inspiration while traveling through the system.  The Program provides illustrators and other artists the opportunity to reach a broader public, while expressing the people, places, and purpose of the transit network with visual appeal and variety.

A variety of Posters and Art Cards are available for purchase at the New York Transit Museum stores.

MTA Arts for Transit: http://www.mta.info/mta/aft/

City Hall Revealed

May 3, 2009

The Nest

The Nest

The City Hall subway station was officially closed and abandoned on December 31, 1945. Tours were still offered until quite recently, and now the station has fallen into complete disrepair. Still, the occasional MTA Inspection worker is sent to investigate its conditions. Such is the character of my next interview and thus my next descent into the underground.

City Hall is close to the Canal Street/Chinatown area, and so it seemed a logical location for my next investigation. The street entrances to the station are now sealed, so we entered through a sewer shaft that actually led us to the station. As with the previous descent, I brought two crewmembers with me and left the rest inside the station, and above ground, to monitor our progress and standing.

Diving gear was unnecessary for this attempt because we were going to walk through the abandoned subway line. We did, however, wear long rubber suits, helmets, and the same monitoring and recording devices as before.

This line was not as warm as the sewers had been, but the air was still stagnant and smelled of the refuse floating immediately below and beside the old tracks. We trudged along in the dim light until we saw a large crack in the wall, from which rats were openly and unabashedly scurrying. We decided to go in.Clutching to the wall for guidance, we eventually were led into a larger corridor that seemed to be an abandoned construction site. Water was everywhere, and it floated above our ankles. I later found out that this was an integral portion of the station’s history:

“City Hall Station opened along with the rest of the Interborough’s first subway line on October 27, 1904. It was immediately clear that expansion of the subway system would be necessary and additional lines were built. But ever-increasing ridership eventually required the Interborough’s five-car local stations to be lengthened to accommodate longer trains, and so the IRT underwent an extensive program of station lengthening in the 1940s and early 1950s.

City Hall, due to its architecture and its being situated on a tight curve, was deemed impractical for lengthening. The new longer trains had center doors on each car, and at City Hall’s tight curve, it was dangerous to open them. It was decided to abandon the station in favor of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge station…” (http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/stations?5:979)

Clearly an attempt had been made to expand the station into the surrounding strata. After this had been deemed impossible the site was abandoned altogether, and is now almost completely forgotten by its human progenitors. Because there are only small cracks for air to flow, this site was quite warmer and gave me a distinct feeling of suffocation. Despite this, the plants and animals had not forgotten, nor had they hesitated to take advantage of such a fortuitous situation. They had formed their homes in the rubble, and had appreciated its protected nature.  They flourished in this environment. If we were to find an alligator nest or even an alligator themselves, this would have been an ideal location.

And so we did. Tucked in a small corner of the rock lay an alligator’s nest devoid of eggs. Had this been the former home of the egg we found in the sewer? We took some samples and, after searching for a bit more and finding nothing, ascended back to the surface.

I was becoming restless. How could these alligators evade detection so well? Obviously, there were alligators living below the streets of New York. I had only found bare traces of this, though, and was eager to find the alligators themselves. Perhaps the means to avoid detection had been one of their urban adaptations?