24″ x 66″ oil on canvas
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New York City, flexing its strength by size and density, often boasts status of “first,” “best,” and “biggest” in an expansive list of areas. Most of our financial investments oscillate on charts on Wall Street, and many items in our closets mimic fashions first seen on New York runways. Much of our American culture, history, politics and economy are tied to beginnings and development in the Big Apple.
A downside for New York, also owning the title of second most densely populated American city, is the lack of physical space for innovation that requires expansive room. Case in point, we’re not going to find wind farms in Manhattan. But ah! there is a place in the city where no New Yorker will set foot. This quiet, empty space is vast and available. No investment bankers will ever have an office here, nor will any gallery, penthouse, or corner shop reside. Buildings, walkways, and taxis push to the very edge of this space, yet not encroaching, like fighting siblings in the backside of the car not to cross the seam of the seat onto the other’s side. This space is the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Below the surface of the East River is a “tidal energy farm” that uses Verdant Power’s underwater turbines to harvest free power from the river’s current, alleviating some pressure on New York’s unsustainable annual $13 billion energy bill.
No one can complain about zoning restrictions or a visual blight. The greatest concern these turbines pose is for the well-being of the river’s primary residents: fish (for which several million dollars is being spent on fish monitoring). The seemingly benign machinery will be connected to the city’s energy grid to provide an equally benign form of power.
Mountaintop removal coal mining move over!