The Accidental Playground: Brooklyn Waterfront Narratives of the Undesigned and Unplanned

By Daniel Campo | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
OUTSIDE ART
Exploring Wildness and Reclamation at the Water’s Edge

ON THE FIRST DAY OF DECEMBER 2001—a Saturday—dozens of people enjoyed unusually temperate conditions at BEDT. In the fading afternoon light, warm air prevailed and the many who remained—some still in short sleeves—were momentarily distracted from their leisure pursuits when an old beat-up truck with Massachusetts plates rumbled onto the terminal, entering from the usually locked North 7th Street gate. Stopping seventy-five yards in, the truck had already drawn a small crowd of admirers. BEDT’s primitive conditions and lack of access made it unusual to see any functioning motor vehicle, let alone a 1948 Ford pickup.

A scruffy man in his early or mid-twenties hopped out of the driver’s seat along with a woman of a similar age from the passenger side. Another slightly younger man hopped off the truck bed, grabbing a chain harness and a thick rope. Largely oblivious to the curious onlookers who had gathered around them, the driver attached the chain to the back of the pickup, while the other two ambled down the bank holding the harness. Amid the rocks at the water’s edge, they selected a large boulder, perhaps 200 pounds, and wrapped the harness around it, which they attached to the other end of the rope. They stood back while driver, now back behind the wheel, slipped the Ford into gear and stepped on the gas. The engine revved and the wheels spun, but the rock moved only a bit before the harness slipped off. Reattaching the harness, they

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