Photo by Erica Sherman
It’s taken some serious beatings over the course of its 131-plus years of existence, most recently during the unprecedented swath of destruction unleashed by Superstorm Sandy, but after months of repairs by Department of Transportation contractors, Sheepshead Bay’s Ocean Avenue footbridge has finally reopened.
After a series of email exchanges with the DOT inquiring into when the bridge would finally be open (we were initially told, weather permitting, by the end of December, which later turned into the end of January), we are pleased to say that the bridge has been reopened to pedestrian foot traffic as of this past Friday. So that’s actually somewhat ahead of schedule.
Thrashed by a combination of violent waves during the storm’s high tide, and the terrifying howl of 90-MPH winds, which sent untethered boats crashing wildly into the bridge’s structure, passersby were shocked the next morning to see huge portions of blue wooden handrail either dangling into the water or completely washed away, one of the more high profile symbols of destruction that trounced our area.
So, to all you pedestrians out there, who hated having to take the long and tedious route, around Emmons to Shore Boulevard, to get to Manhattan Beach and vice versa, your prayers have finally been answered. However, you may wish to take a flashlight with you when you cross the bridge, since the DOT is still working on the lighting.
Photo by Brian Hoo
The Department of Transportation has been repairing the 131-year-old Ocean Avenue footbridge spanning Sheepshead Bay into Manhattan Beach since the first days after Superstorm Sandy nearly destroyed it.
Now the agency tells Sheepshead Bites that the project is slated for completion by the end of the month, meaning that in 2013 pedestrians will no longer have to take the long, arduous route around West End Avenue to travel from one neighborhood to the other.
Sandy exacted a tremendous toll from the historic bridge. Not only was it pummeled by waves and entirely submerged by water, but several sailboats and motorboats slammed into its wooden planks, shattering chunks of it. One sailboat took the high road, careening over the top of the bridge and ripping out a swath of its rails.
The boats were removed earlier this month.
Photo by Brian Hoo
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one of the more iconic symbols of the devastation wrought, was the significant damage the footbridge incurred. Tipster and Sheepshead Bites contributor Brian Hoo sent us this photo (above) of some men working to repair the wooden connection between Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard.
This is what the bridge looked like immediate following the storm:
And, in happier days:
Photo by Jenelle Buccheri
Strolling over the Ocean Avenue footbridge’s wooden planks has been the quintessential Sheepshead Bay experience for 131 years, but a Department of Transportation initiative will soon see the familiar timber ripped out in favor of new materials – a decision they’ve made without community input.
For at least a month, the bridge, spanning the waters between Emmons Avenue and Manhattan Beach, has been a testing site for three materials expected to replace the tropical hardwood planks that make the walkway. But community leaders, organizations and activists are blasting the city agency behind the project for making such striking alterations without so much as a phone call to local stakeholders.
“They have never asked us,” said Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo. “I know nothing about the wood they’re using. It looks like they’re just doing whatever. When Department of Transportation has pure control, this is what happens. There’s no notification. Nothing.”
Read about the proposed changes, view photos of the new materials, and find out what local leaders say about it.
Photo courtesy of Bona Weiss
Accomplished photographer, filmmaker and Sheepshead Bites reader Bona Weiss contacted us about a cool project he’d been working on:
A few years back, I started experimenting with 360 degree panoramas and took a few around the neighborhood. There wasn’t a Sheepshead Bites then (or at least I didn’t know about it yet), so there wasn’t much of a way to share any of it with neighbors. Anyway, these panoramas may not mesh with the content of the blog exactly, but I thought readers may find them interesting.
Futuristic-looking Emmons Avenue panoramas not “mesh” with Sheepshead Bites?? Pish-posh. Click here to behold some of the coolest photos I have ever seen.
In a second correspondence, Bona — who describes himself on his Facebook page as “[s]hooting and editing visual nightmares at 24 fps” [Ed – “fps” = “frames per second”] — explains that he used a program called “The Panorama Factory,” which he says allows you to select ‘stitching points’ between photos. “That outputs a jpg of the panorama,” he explains, “usually with a few errors in the seams (mostly ghosting), which I touch up in Photoshop. Then I convert it to flash with a program called ‘PanoSalado.’”
If you want to see more of Bona’s amazing work, check out his website or “like” him on Facebook.