Land of a Thousand Bridges

Today marks the first official day of design reviews. The site is chosen, the site data is collected and documented, and the first round of design ideas is ready to be dissected.

There are an astounding amount of ways to cross a pond as small as Mulberry! Some are more practical than others of course, but there are many more options than the two simple direct span bridges that initially suggested themselves on the East and West banks. Below are some of my own variations:

When it is all said and done, we will have about a week (from this past Monday) to come up with and choose a design to run with. After that point we will need to begin compiling technical drawings and construction documents that can go out for Conservancy and City approval before Spring Break in a couple of weeks.

On a personal note, Mulberry Pond has become a calm place for me in the midst of a quickly accelerating semester. Maggie and I visited again on Monday to document and measure the significant trees that may affect our design, and I found there again a lovely microcosm of peaceful slowness. The resident Muscovy Goose (whom I have affectionately begun to call “Harold”) was there with a girlfriend of whom he was quite possessive, and a cool, but not cold, mist was hanging in the air. I also began to note the effect of Mulberry Pond on senses other than sight–the sounds of Canadian Geese flying over, Harold and his girlfriend swimming and calling to one another, the many textures of plant life, the softness of the rich, waterlogged soil, the smell of cedar and earth…a small world of its own, inextricably connected to, yet distant from, its surroundings.

On my first visit to Mulberry Pond (also an overcast day), my thoughts turned instantly to the paintings of the Hudson River School painters. They painted over and over again the scenery of the Hudson River valley in all of its subtle sensitivities to light. To me, the view that best expresses the picturesque and expressive beauty of the site is from the west bank of Mulberry back across the pond, across the four sentinel maples on the bikeway, down the canal, and to the distant vehicular bridge of White Oak Drive.

Lake George by Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847–1919), n.d. (c. 1870–1880), Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Nicholas V. Bulzacchelli

This is the view and the feeling I hope we can preserve (even enhance) as we create a new connection to the bikeway.

This is not the exact view described above, but it is the closest to it of the pictures I took.

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