Archive for March, 2013


Plastic – other options or a reasonable stretch? 

photo copy 2

photo copy 3The mark may indicate that the lumber was sourced in Guyana, a country rich in tropical timber resources. 


photo copy 2Trees are approximately one-third water, the moisture content of freshly cut lumber. Over time, the wood air dries to 5-10%. The boardwalk woods may be slightly higher or lower in moisture content depending on the climate – rain, relative humidity, etc. For re-use, the woods need to be milled and dried (air or kiln), and arrive at a job site at under 10% or 12% for exterior applications. Water is always present in some percentage, contributing to the expansion and contraction of the woods over time. 



photo copy

photo copy

photo copy 5

photoAn estimated 80,000+ boards were pulled up one-by-one as part of the boardwalk salvage project. Here, NYC Parks Dept. manager Jordan Smith steps in to help with an early version of the Rockaway Wrecker – a customized hand-forged tool.  



photo copy 29Klaas Armster assessing remaining sections of boardwalk at Beach 35th St. in the Rockaways. 


IMG_0667These block (approx. 4″ x 12″ x 12-16″) act as bracing between supporting joists under the boardwalk, preventing movement – unless hurricane force waves upend the entire structure. 


photoRiis Park functioned as a transfer station for trash in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. The material loaded here – representing a trickle of what flowed through the park in the early weeks after the storm – is headed for landfills inn Pennsylvania and upstate New York. 


photo copy 2Local residents taking a winter walk along the beach. Adversity often makes the heart grow fonder for New York. 


photo copyNYC Parks Dept. here in a balancing act. The city has needed to balance clean-up, reclamation and re-building priorities in the storms aftermath. 


photo copy 4Without the fatal risks of 9/11, events such as hurricane Sandy have nonetheless broadened the scope of heroes responding to crime and disaster in Gotham. 


photo copy 3Masonry “Firewalls” are placed approximately 300′ along the boardwalk – an irony in light of the class A fire rating for tropical hardwoods.  


photo copy 20

photo copy 4Sprawling wood refuse piles at Riis Park, separated from waste stream to allow for salvage work. Here, David Selig selects material to use within MOMA’s seaside dome construction. 


photo copy 5Scrap aluminum – most likely destined for a domestic or southeast Asian smelting facility. 


photo copy 10NYC Parks staff person George Kroenert helps direct the D9 bulldozer in moving a section of boardwalk for safer hand dismantling. 


photo copy 3Staff of Armster Reclaimed Lumber Co. lead the dismantling work. 


photo copy 7Hurricane didn’t touch the spirit of free expression in the city. 


photo copy 9Hopeful outcome against global warming. Reclamation, resourcefulness and teamwork prevent a losing battle. 


  • photo copy 11
  • Klaas Armster assisted in consulting with the main public coordinating agencies that steered the reclamation process – FEMA, NYC Office of Emergency Management(NYC OEM), U.S. Army COR and NYC Parks Dept. 

photo copy 12NYC Parks manager George Kroenert brought in the largest equipment in the departments arsenal to pull a massive stretch of boardwalk onto a safer work surface. The recovery of Rainforest hardwoods in response to the hurricane was like “…environmental storming of Normandy beach.”


photo copy 15David Moss, former Brooklyn basketball all-star and graduate of the non-profit woodwork training program Brooklyn Woods, helping Rockaway rebound. 


photo copy 16California transplants and other surf enthusiasts worldwide have quietly built a surfing community on the Rockaways. Insulated wet suits hit the surf year round. 

photo copy 182 pry bars working in sync reduce overall energy output. 


photo copy 26

photo copy 4Boardwalk planks are made from a mix of tropical hardwoods that include Ipe, Cumaru, Greenheart and Angelique – all with nearly supernatural resistance to moisture and rot and a hardness rating that is 2-3 times White Oak. Their beauty and performance make these species among the most desired for exterior decking – and their harvesting the most destructive. It is estimated that close to an acre of Rainforest is clear cut to yield just a small amount of the material. Their use for public projects is increasingly banned – also in NYC, once the countries largest consumer of the woods for park applications.  


photo copy 2The sections dismantled by Armster and Sawkill were originally slated for demolition and landfill, before FEMA, NYC Office of Emergency Management(NYC OEM, U.S. Army Cor and NYC Parks determined to salvage the tropical hardwoods.


photoHeavy equipment and power tools were used sparingly in the gentle hand dismantling process – but were nonetheless indispensible in handling the heavy timbers and meeting tight time lines. 


photo copy 330 yd roll-off containers transported salvaged material to nearby Riis Park. Roll-off trucks raise an hydraulically operated bed, and the roll-off container rolls off of the bed. A cable is used to slowly lower the container. After the waste container is loaded, the roll-off truck pulls the filled container onto the roll-off truck by using a cable and winch system.


IMG_1110Boardwalk sections around the Parks Dept. comfort stations needed to be dismantled and readied for re-building in time for the summer crowds. 


photoThe dismantling work was more dangerous than expected – with many boards carefully pried loose from unsteady and exposed sections, sometimes in harsh and slippery weather conditions – but no serious injuries (as of 3/27). 


photo copy 4Did global warming cause or intensify Hurricane Sandy? Do we know the fault lines? How to respond? 


photoPush, Pump (8-12 times), Pull — repeat. 


photo copyDe-commissioned cargo ships pull up on the beaches of Bangladesh, where dismantling crews (often barefoot) break down the iron vessels for scrap recycling. The wreckage of the boardwalk sections and the hand dismantling may be the closes American version of the process – aside from prevailing wage scales on parts of the work. 


photo copy 2Sharp tools


photo copy 7wood post itself as flag


1 2 3