A Double-Take In The Subway

Over the last couple of years, the MTA has been replacing the old frames for paper ads in subway station – basically miniature billboards – with screens that can rotate between ads, maps, and service announcements. The future is now, or some such. In any case, I was in the Bowling Green station waiting for a train and had the weird sensation of seeing something familiar completely out of context. Here’s a blow-up of the screen on the right:

That’s the ruins of the arsenal on Bannerman Island. And those white diagonals (two on the right, four on the left) are part of the bracing system that we designed for the ruins about five years ago. So, yay for us! And particularly, yay for Shaquana, who spent a lot of time analyzing those walls.

Ultimately, more work is needed for stabilization. All masonry needs periodic maintenance; masonry walls that are not part of a building heated in the winter, in the climate of the Hudson River valley, need more than most. The intricate geometry of those walls traps water and snow, so freeze-thaw damage is inevitable, as well as more prosaic erosion of the mortar. But the masonry repairs and bracing should have bought the ruins an extra ten or twenty years compared to the previous condition.

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