Updated 11 a.m.
This must be how the area around the Arch looked when they first constructed it out of wood. This work is related to
the water main construction which has been making its way around the park Con Ed Natural Gas lines being installed but these barricades look like they date back to the 1800s. In a way, it’s nice that it is not very high tech.
A reader wrote in correcting me about what this work relates to:
Actually, aren’t the pipes being installed pictured in this location in fact natural gas lines, and not water mains? Because of fracking, Con Ed is fitting the entire neighborhood to sell cheap gas to the co-ops along 5th Ave.
The huge abundance of cheap gas from fracking in Pennsylvania and other states that is desperately trying to find a market somewhere and justify its drilling costs. The companies would like to sell overseas, but that is becoming politically and cost prohibitive.
Manhattan is the obvious energy customer, with electricity rates of $0.25 a kilowatt hour, about the highest in the nation. Many co-ops along this stretch of 5th Avenue are installing new boilers that burn either oil or natural gas for their heating, depending on which fuel is/will be cheaper to burn. ConEd is “accommodating” them.
The specific pipes in the photograph run east to west and hook up with the north-south run of gas pipes already installed during the last two years. Where they go or come from, I don’t know.
The desire to take advantage of natural gas low prices is just common sense, really, for all the buildings. Burning nasty fuel oil is not only expensive, but emits more pollution, even if higher quality oil has now been mandated by the city. ConEd is always seeking ways to lower the demand for electricity, perhaps foreseeing the loss of Indian Point nuclear plant that supplies 10% of the city’s power. ConEd has to buy electricity at spot prices when demand peaks and nobody likes that, supplier or consumer. Natural gas is seen as having many benefits. The drawback is that the infrastructure is inadequate presently.
I have noticed that the present pipes are being laid right next to the Park, instead of down the middle of the street or where the cars park. Probably this results in the least amount of disruption to the people that live on WSP (i.e., NYU !)
I doubt whether the small buildings on WSP will benefit from using the gas, as only large apartment buildings can afford to convert their boilers. So the run of large pipe west is curious. Where is it going? Why? Where is the building that the head of NYU lives in? Gosh, is it west? Hmmmm.. Now if that were the intent, that would be a great story! 🙂
The reader was up on this due to being “naturally curious.” Fracking was banned in New York State but I never thought about overflow natural gas. This was a much more interesting topic than I anticipated!
But talk about disturbing the “Arch view corridor.” Hopefully, the affluent socialites located north on Fifth Avenue are managing alright despite this disruption to their view.
Remember it was the WSP conservancy founders/socialites – in addition to George Vellonakis – who objected to the original location of the “hot dog” food cart vendors which was uncovered via private emails obtained by WSP Blog.
And then the vendors were moved – and almost entirely eliminated, if not for community pressure – to an actual disruptive location in the park. WSP conservancy founders denied any influence in that decision. (Check the emails which reveal the true story.)
In other related news, the hot dog food cart vendor
s are is finally back! More to come on this and other WSP-related news. Stay tuned.