Obviously, we have a lot going on around the Island as we get ready to open to the public. Buildings coming down, bikes getting ready, signs getting made. But we also have some very exciting things happening inside. As we announced several months ago, building 110 (the building just up the hill to your right when you get off the ferry) will be home to a new, year-round artist residency program overseen by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).
In addition, the building will continue to house information and exhibits about the future of the park and other development on Governors Island.
The building was built around 1870 as an Arsenal for the Army, and was being used as offices by the time the Coast Guard left the Island. Given this long and distinguished history, it comes as no surprise that we have to do some work inside the building to get it ready for new uses. Mostly what we’re doing is abating a small amount of asbestos (mostly in the glue used in the floor tiles) and ripping out a whole bunch of interior partitions that had been used to surround the old offices. I don’t have any “before” pictures, but suffice to say that the building has been used as a set for movies trying to show a police station from the 1970’s and I think you can imagine what it looked like. The picture below is what it looks like today.
The new space is amazing, and it’s not much of a stretch to see this becoming a great part of the Island’s cultural life (and the City’s cultural life…)
As often happens, this type of work reveals all sorts of interesting quirks in a building this old. For example, there are about six types of floors and floor heights becuase they were laying different types of tiles, concrete, or carpet in individual rooms (that raised area in the middle of the picture above is the old hallway, which is about 2 inches higher that the rooms were). More amusing is the hand stencilled sign shown below, which printed at ceiling height (about eight or nine feet) on the lower level:
It says “Do not spit on floor. Offenders will be discharged. LT A. W. Thomas”. Makes you wonder how big of a problem this was, and what happened if you were “discharged”.
The same rule will apply for the building’s future uses by the way.
Filed under: Art on the Island