JF Ptak Science Books
I recently uncovered an interesting, unpublished and probably not-acceptable engineering report to extend the ports capacity in the Hudson River at New York City--the ports of the area being famously over-busy for a long period of time, especially right before World War II. Charles Palliser and Frederick W. Capon presented a proposal in 1935 for a unification of the port and airport facilities to take care of the overcrowding and overworked problem.
What they came up with was Liberty Landing, a mile-long and half-mile-wide facility that nearly bumped into the Statue of Liberty (and hence its name). The plan called for backfilling the “flats” that were just south of Jersey City, as “the natural formation of these were very favorable”, which meant that the airport-port combo would extend all the way into the harbor to the edge of the channel, which would put it further out than the Statue of Liberty, which would also be just hundreds of feet away from the end of the north runway.
Also attached to the backfill and new land would be a one-mile-long floating dock. Oh my!
The floating island would also have vehicular tunnels that connected it to Staten Island and the Battery. There were facilities for seaplanes, airplanes, railroads, dirrigbles, and trucks, plus a military installation, a custom’s house and the US Mail Service, so that all commerce would converge at this one point, which sounds interesting (for about 20 seconds).
This is a good candidate for the “Better Left Undone” award for 1935.
As I look at the photograph of the aerial view of the plan it strikes me that if the designers increased the surface area by only 125% or so they could’ve connected the new facility with Governor’s Island AND Brooklyn, building a land bridge from Jersey City to Coney Island—a superbly bad idea to cap an already strongly bad idea.
The report is called, simply, Liberty Landing, and published by the architect in Jackson Heights, NYC, 16 Septmeber 1935. This is also the U.S. Copyright Deposit copy (accepted 10 October 1935), which is where the history of this project ends.