Bronx River Crossing
A Project by New York Prize Fellows Alexander Levi and Amanda Schachter

Public Reception: Thursday, June 11, 2009
3:00 - 6:00pm
Hunts Point Riverside Park

Van Alen Institute is pleased to announce Bronx River Crossing (BRX), a project by New York Prize Fellows Alexander Levi and Amanda Schachter. Since January 2009, Levi and Schachter have worked with over 100 Bronx high school students and their teachers, local community leaders, and architecture students and practitioners in and around New York City to design and build a floating, large-scale model of the Lower Bronx River Watershed. Made from recovered materials including 3,000 used MetroCards, 30 broken umbrellas, 2,000 plastic bottles, 300 sycamore burrs, and 50 PVC window frames hauled off a demolition site, the model will be assembled and launched on June 11 from 219th Street into the Bronx River, accompanied by a thirty-canoe-strong flotilla of the BRX participants responsible for its creation. After spending the previous night camping out along the river, the group will guide the giant watershed model downstream and pull ashore at Hunts Point Riverside Park for a public presentation and reception. (Click HERE for a downloadable map of the BRX course).

BRX complements current ongoing efforts for environmental reclamation by local activists and inspires prolonged collaborative design investigation that will strengthen links across neighborhoods, institutions and public space along the river. Summoning a broad-based community and culling material from the city fabric itself, Levi and Schachter physically activate and recast the Lower Bronx River Watershed as the ecological and social spine of the borough. The BRX Watershed model displays both seen and unseen elements of the region – including the historical ecology of the watershed, neighborhoods, buildings, transportation infrastructures, storm water and sewer networks, the Greenway and other open public space, and a range of evidence and concepts gathered from the personal itineraries of BRX participants. Following its launch down the river, the model is planned to tour Bronx schools in Fall 2009.

Please join Alexander Levi, Amanda Schachter, and the BRX participants for a reception at Hunts Point Riverside Park as they share experiences of their efforts from the initial planning and mapping stages through model-building, flotation, and final launch. Presentations will begin at 3:00pm, and the Bronx Watershed Model will remain on view at the park until 6:00pm. No RSVP necessary.

Directions to Hunts Point Riverside Park: Take the 6 Train to Hunts Point Ave. Transfer to the Bx6 Bus, and get off at the intersection of Spofford Ave and Halleck St. Walk 1 block north on Halleck, and turn right onto Lafayette/Hunts Point Riverside Park. Travel time is approximately 1 hour from Van Alen Institute. (MAP)

For anyone interested in viewing the BRX Watershed Model from the riverbanks while it floats downstream, Levi and Schachter have provided a map and timeline with suggested stopping points. To download the map, click HERE.

Directions to Bronx River Viewing Sites:

Starting Point 219th St: 10:00 AM
- Take the 2 or 5 Train to 219th St; walk west on 219th St to the Bronx River.

Burke Bridge: 10:45 AM
- Take the 2 Train to Gun Hill Road; walk west on Gun Hill Road, take a left on Olinville Avenue, and another left on Duncomb Avenue. Follow Duncomb Avenue to the set of stairs leading to the Bronx River path; turn left (south) and follow the dirt path through the Bronx River Forest to Burke Bridge.

River Park: 12:15 PM
- Take the 2 or 5 Train to 180th St; walk west on 180th St to River Park.

174th St Bridge: 1:15 PM
- Take the 2 or 5 Train to 174th St; walk east on 174th St to the 174th St Bridge.

Concrete Plant Park: 2:00 PM
- Take the 6 Train to Whitlock Avenue; walk north to Westchester Avenue, turn right and right again into the Concrete Plant Park.

Participating schools and institutions include: Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Pablo Neruda Academy for Architecture and World Studies, Urban Workshop, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture, and Fordham University. Special thanks to: Bronx River Alliance for providing canoes and on-water support; the New York City Urban Park Rangers for guiding the overnight campout; the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Bureau of Topography of the Office of the Bronx Borough President for materials and maps; and the St Joan of Arc Church for donating their kitchen for food preparation. Levi and Schachter would also like to thank Robert Wrazen for spearheading the construction of the flotation, Katie Kannen for organizing the food preparation, and Damian Griffin, Chris Kannen, Eugenia Pietrogrande, and Eric Sanderson for their support and assistance. Thanks especially to all team leaders, and to all those participants not listed here, whose passion and commitment has been critical to the success of the project. Please click here to see a full list of BRX participants.