Why go to the beach, when it can come to you? A New York-based team launch a crowdfunding campaign for a floating beach on a repurposed barge in the Hudson River. Sharon Reich reports.
STORY: New York may be the city of dreams, but when temperatures rise the concrete jungle seems hard to handle. And New Yorkers start to dream of one thing ... the beach. But rather than travelling, entrepeneur Blayne Ross imagined bringing the sand to the city. He's spearheading a campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo for City Beach. It's a beach on a reclaimed barge that floats along the Hudson River. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BLAYNE ROSS, ENTREPENEUR AND FOUNDER AND OF CITY BEACH CAMPAIGN, SAYING: "Actually it just came out of seeing a need ... I come from Florida and we have lots of beaches and there's plenty of room around and I like to spread out. And I was like 'how can we make this happen'?" Ross, along with a team of architects and engineers, envision more than just a strip of sand in the middle of the Hudson. Below deck the barge will feature shops, concession stands, restaurants and even a kid friendly science exhibit. Architect Matthew Berman says the design is centered on dunes and other elements that make a beachscape unique. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHITECT MATTHEW BERMAN, PARTNER AT WORKSHOP/APD, SAYING: "You take this serene element of topography and the sound of water and that's what we started to look at. So that's where the sculpted form came from, the potato chip form, it allowed us to create varying vantage points, so that no matter where you're looking, you're not looking at the back of somebody's head and you're looking over and at something." Since people won't be swimming in the Hudson, the team is planning a waterfall that will surround the entire barge. Besides creating white noise that transports beachgoers to a fantasy island, it'll keep the barges' weight balanced so it doesn't tip on either side. Designer Andrew Kotchen says it's also one of the keys to keeping the barge green. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCHITECT ANDREW KOTCHEN, PARTNER AT WORKSHOP/APD, SAYING: "Inherently creating outdoor space should be green. So, the primary focus is to hang out on the sand, which in and of itself is a permeable material. Water can filtrate through it and we can somewhow capture that water and potentially use it for other aspects of the barge. Other uses, whether it's greywater for flushing nad things like that. I mean there's many other ways to dovetail the exterior environmental coponents into the interior uses of the space." Other environmentally friendly features include a solar farm and proposed light shafts that will bring sunshine to marine life. But for City Beach to get off the ground, it'll need the support of New Yorkers -- who have a reputation as a tough sell. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORKER DAVID WHITE, SAYING: "I quite like the beach and I go to California for that. So it's nice to have a beach here." (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORKER SURA BINDMAN, SAYING: "If you don't want to go to Brighton Beach, Coney Island or anywhere else, it's a good place to start." (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORKER HENRY CHU, SAYING: "I think that's a good idea. NY can accept anything." The team hopes its campaign will raise enough funds to launch the project in the summer of 2016.