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Col. Polo's View of Manhattan

Col. Polo handing Judith Powers a commemorative New York District coin.

Col. Polo handing Judith Powers a commemorative New York District coin.

I visited the New York District, Corps of Engineers on April 6 was able to spend a few minutes with District Engineer Col. Richard Polo. In this picture he is handing me a New York District commemorative medal. It is engraved with a "big apple" that has the Corps of Engineers castle in the center, and "established 1843" below. It is a great souvenir of a visit to an exciting place. coming on the eve of his announcement of the start of the $79 million deepening project in New York and New Jersey, this was a memorable day. The report on that contract is on page 18.

Col. Polo pointed out an interesting fact about Manhattan, well illustrated by the beautiful view from his window, that all the skyscrapers are clustered at the north and south ends of the island. Mid town consists of low buildings because of the soft ground there, that will not support heavier buildings.

My New York District host JoAnne Costagna also arranged for me to talk to Randy Hintz and Bill Slezak. Randy is in charge of technical support for the Operations Division, and Bill is chief of the New York and New Jersey Harbor Programs Branch. My talks with them will be the subject of an article in the July/August issue, so keep an eye out for it.

JoAnne has submitted several articles to IDR, including the one on an interesting dune project in this issue (page 32).

The next day, I had a rare visit with my son Mike, who works in Manhattan. We took the water taxi across the Hudson River to Liberty Landing Marina, passing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on the way. We met Bill Benson and Michele Dickey there, and joined up with their new helper Allegra Tiver. Donjon Marine's crew boat Matthew Scott then collected us for a tour of two dredging projects on the Arthur Kill. These were Donjon's dredge Michigan and the Great Lakes dredge New York. Ray Bergeron of Cable Arm was on the Michigan with his crew, installing a bucket positioning system. Thanks to the Matthew Scott's Captain Tom Morris and deckhand and boat operator Charlie Murson for squiring us around.

Our visit to the Michigan included the material handling site farther up the channel. The opportunity to talk to people in every facet of the operation, from Dredge Operator Bobby Banks to Bob Howe, superintendent of the processing operation, was a rare treat.

I had visited the dredge New York before, on a dark, snowy night in November, 2001. This bright day outside the shadow of that dark time was informative and enjoyable. On deck was Bill Miller, the boat captain who provided me with first hand photos of dredge crewboats evacuating people from Manhattan on September 11, and of the situation in succeeding days when dredges were working in the harbor under strict security.

On the final day of CONEXPO in Las Vegas, I took a photo of some cranes, put my new, expensive camera into my purse, then went to the WEDA booth to have a cup of coffee with Larry Patella before my "vacation" - my drive home across Utah and Colorado. As I left the building I reached for the camera to take one more photo of the Operating Engineers Union booth, and the camera wasn't there. I had been pick pocketed. It was hard to lose the camera, but even harder to lose the pictures from the week-long exhibition. Larry Patella went around the show and took photos of many of the exhibits for me, and those are the illustrations in my article on page 24 of this issue. I can't thank Larry enough for this wonderfully generous gesture.

Judith Powers, Editor

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