Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Roaming Roosevelt Island: The 'Prow'

(Click here for the full "Roaming Roosevelt Island" series.)

If you walk down the Roosevelt Island promenade toward the Octagon (a former insane asylum turned luxury apartment complex), you'll come across the "Prow" — a rusty observation deck built to look like a the front of a ship.


The Prow was recently repaired and scrubbed clean of graffiti, which had covered every part of it.


It's hard to take the kids past this landmark without them wanting to climb aboard and play sea captain.


According to an old story in the New York Times archives, the Prow was built over an old ship's landing in 1997:
It projects about 50 feet out into the West Channel, and consists of a flat, unadorned concrete wedge clad with rusty plates of steel. . . . Set along a tattered section of the promenade, it is, at best, a diamond in the rough, though the view of Manhattan is stunning.
That description was written in 2000, six years before the opening of the Octagon and its well-manicured grounds ushered in a more genteel era for Roosevelt Island. I have to think the island looked considerably more bleak back then.

The Prow itself maintained its gritty appearance until quite recently.

Here's what it looked like back in May 2012, when we first moved to the island.




At the time, I was grateful the kids weren't old enough to read.