2011-03-11 / Community

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance Hosts Week Of Field Trips

The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance hosted a week of field trips for middle and high school students over the mid-winter recess. Students embarked on their week-long journey beginning, braving winds and cold, touring the famous High Line Park in Chelsea. The elevated park, which sits atop old railroad tracks, was once part of a major 1930s infrastructure project called the West-Side Improvement. The goal was to lift dangerous freight traffic off the streets of the bustling industrial district. As students walked along the snow-covered grounds of the historic site turned public park, many were in awe of the design and view that the elevated landscape revealed. As one student said, “I feel like I’m a part of history,” it became clear that the High Line in the 1930s was just as historic as it is now over seventy years later, still changing the landscape and definition of public space. Later in the week students met with architects from the Michael Van Valkenberg office in downtown Brooklyn. The landscape architect and his associates have worked on numerous projects worldwide, including college campuses, sculpture gardens, public parks, as well as private spaces. While they visited the office, students were given the opportunity to view some of the urban designs and landscape plans developed by the company. The students were then given a tour of the newly constructed Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6 in Brooklyn, which was also a project worked on by the company. Other visits during the week included a Ferry Ride to and from Staten Island, as well as trips to the Museum of Modern Art, Noguchi museum and the Socrates Sculpture Garden.

The overall goal of the week was to immerse students in a seven-day exploratory learning experience. By introducing the students to various aspects that make a livable city, they were able to learn from professionals in the field as well as from their own observations and documentation. The ideas collected over the week will be a reference point for students in future design projects on which they collaborate for the Rockaway peninsula.

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