Friday, August 8, 2008

Let's Go Spelunking at Promontory Point!

posted by Elizabeth Fama

I mentioned in my previous post that the Promontory Point revetment is becoming dangerous in many sections, and it's my guess that the City gives a few tickets to swimmers every year just to protect itself against future liability lawsuits if (or when) someone is seriously hurt or killed.

If you haven't walked along the promenade and examined the erosion of the revetment from top to bottom, as I've suggested in the past, you might be surprised to see how far it has deteriorated in many sections. Let's explore one of those sections in detail...

There are currently two (accidental, unsanctioned) water access sites on the north side of Promontory Point, and this is one of them:

You can just make out a cave in the revetment steps in the background of this photo (look for the black hole, surrounded by shrub-like weeds, just above and left of center).

This is a view of that caved-in section, from the water:

The promenade is completely gone. And can you see the two side-by-side limestone blocks in the stepped revetment behind it that are seemingly balanced on nothing (again, above and left of center)? Well, here's the view just to the right of those two "suspended" blocks:

Now here's a photo of the cave under the two blocks, to the left:

A small child could fit in here. But I don't recommend taking your kids along this section of the Point. To tell you the truth, my own kids were annoyed (in that lovingly protective way they have) that I was teetering on the lack-of-promenade, taking these photos.

Doesn't anyone want a free
Fix the Point bumper sticker?


chicago pop said...

Reminds me of Starved Rock, in a funny kind of way.

Forget the all-limestone preservation nonsense; I think we should rebuild the Point after the Egyptian model, using slaves, big rocks, and lots of mortar. I' mean, the Pyramids are still standing, right?

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Ms. Fama's mention in this week's Herald. :-)

Zig and Lou said...

"The blocks [of the Great Pyramid] vary in size from 4000 lbs to 100,000 lbs. The weight of the blocks and the shape of the pyramid made mortar unimportant for bonding the blocks together in a continuous mass. Gravity and the design of the pyramid basically held the structure together."

Gravity holding the structure together, much like the Point.

chicago pop said...

LOL thanks for the point of detail on Egyptian archeology ...

Elizabeth Fama said...

Thanks for pointing out the Herald article that mentions me, Greg. I hadn't read it yet. I like the way I'm introduced as "a blogger using the name Elizabeth Fama."

Peter Rossi said...

where is the mention in the Herald? It is too painful to wade thru the mis-information and bad reporting.

can greg or beth give me a clue?


great pics. I particularly like the water level view of the cave.

someone is going to get seriously hurt. Then sue the CPD and a fence will go up along this whole stretch. All so that a few NIMBYs can get their name in the paper!

Elizabeth Fama said...

Peter, Hyde Park Progress is also mentioned, and it's on p.7 in the article about Caryl Yasko and the plans to refurbish a portion of the mural "Under City Stone."

(P.S. I don't exactly understand how she formed her interpretation of the Agee poem, which is quite unfriendly towards mass transit and not at all about children...but she's sticking with it, I guess.)

Anonymous said...

I got a kick out of how you were introduced too. The implication is that Elizabeth Fama is some kind of phony baloney blogging name. Or maybe someone impersonating you. Such silliness!

Stephen said...

I wonder if the tree uprooted on the north side of the Point would have survived absent the erosion?

Elizabeth Fama said...

Stephen, I took a photo of that tree, possibly for future posts. I think erosion definitely contributed to its uprooting.

There was a commotion on the North Side of the Point this morning at 10:00-ish: Fire Dept. scuba specialists, police cars, ambulance, and a helicopter. Later, I saw an ambulance driving west on 56th Street toward the hospital.