Saturday June 20, 2015 from 2:30pm-4:30pm
Lower Manhattan, meeting at Capsouto Park
The walk will explore the Urban Backstage in the context of the history of Collect Pond and NYC’s water infrastructure. We will examine the inter-connection of ecological and social histories, the changing perspectives and strategies in relation to water, and the notion of the backstage as it relates to both of these themes. The backstage is where urban residents can rehearse, rather than perform; where proscriptive programming is minimal, allowing for a more individually defined, and perhaps more intimate, use of public space. The backstage is the counterpoint of branded public space, a space to be found and explored, to wonder about, to wander around, a place to speculate. It is a provisional place, one for testing ideas, to practice imperfectly. A survey of New York City backstage spaces demonstrates a common pairing of productive spontaneous ecologies and aging infrastructure. This has led to thinking of the city’s urban infrastructure as another kind of backstage space, where the mechanics of how the city works are generally hidden.