April 28, 2017
Fifteen New York University students today toured a project by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) which is replacing old water mains and sewers, relocating gas lines, and upgrading traffic lighting and street lighting around Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, in the heart of NYU’s urban campus. DDC is managing the project for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The tour was arranged through DDC’s Neighborhood Infrastructure Curbside Education (NICE) program, which was developed 19 years ago to provide students of various grade levels with instruction and educational resources on how DDC utilizes the latest construction and equipment technologies to manage projects that deliver drinking water to the City and remove waste and storm water from underneath the streets.
“NICE gives students of various ages the opportunity to learn about the infrastructure of the City from industry professionals,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “The tours can also open young people’s eyes to possible careers in engineering and construction, exposing them to opportunities they may not have considered before.”
The NYU students are part of an environmental studies course called “New York Underground” which is divided into energy, water, and transportation modules focused on the perspective of environmental scientists.
“Today we were able to explain to the students all of the important components of infrastructure that are necessary to support this community and the overall city. You can see the amazement when the students saw the complexity of all the utilities underneath these streets,” said Resident Engineer, Justin DeNino from WSP- Parsons Brinckherhoff, DDC’s contractor on the job.
“This field trip was integral because it links all the utilities together that the students learned in class and it allowed them to peer into the complex underground network that’s below their feet. I think it was a great way to help students to consider how complex infrastructure work is around them and to appreciate their everyday resources,” said Katie Schneider Paolantonia, Ph.D., NYU Clinical Assistant Professor of Biology.
“The field trip was based on what we learned in class, and it was great to learn more about this project that is right near our campus. The Resident Engineer was charismatic and provided a lot local history and fun facts about Manhattan. I would love to do this field trip again, it was such a great opportunity,” said Kate Stern, a NYU Junior studying Urban Political Ecology.