The site is now looking like an archaeological dig. We would try to avoid falling in the grave-size holes for the coming week.
Carefully placing and securing all the posts level is a tedious, but critical stage of the process.
Charlie, one of the senior grounds keepers for RIPA joined us to help place the concrete footings. Here, my assistant Nate introduces him to the concrete mixing process.
The next morning commenced a relentless day of digging with the addition of a mini backhoe, a jackhammer, and even more guys from Debbie's team. Above, the holes created with the auger were generally too shallow due to the obstructions.
We couldn't have done this part without the mini back hoe, but it was a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.
In the right hands the jack hammer can get through anything, but it is sloooow going and back-breaking work. Everyone on site got a thorough workout that day.
Special thanks to Eric Peterson, Debbie Unger, and all the grounds crew!! What was meant to be a simple operation ballooned into a huge undertaking, but Debbie and her crew didn't stop until the job was done.
Following a site visit with Eric Peterson, deputy adminstrator for Randall's Island Park, and Debbie Unger, turf manager, we arrived early one chilly morning to layout the footprint for the sculpture.
Ghost House would need a total of 23 concrete footings for all the necessary posts. In preparation for excavation we used mason's line and spray paint to locate each footing for augering.
Debbie's crew arrived in the afternoon to drill the holes with the Bobcat auger. I asked the operator how long he thought drilling might take. Reply: "Maybe 45 minutes."
...Unfortunately Debbie's warning that things sometimes get complicated digging on the island proved 100% true in this case. Hiding below the surface was an absurd amount of bricks, concrete and granite...ugh.
We drilled as much as we could without breaking the auger bit, but more powerful equipment would be required. Above, Debbie watches warily as the bobcat crunches away at some brick.
Several CLFMI member companies expressed interest in supporting Ghost House, however Illusions Fence stood out for several reasons.
CEO Peter E. Williams Jr. was very enthusiastic about the project and invited me to speak to his art director, Jeremy Dean. Talking to Jeremy, it was quickly apparent that Illusions Fence would be a great partner, and would do everything possible to help Ghost House be a success. Jeremy arranged a donation of all the fence materials needed for the sculpture--you guys rock!!
THANK YOU Peter Williams (Jr. and Sr.!) and Jeremy Dean for your generous support of Ghost House!!!
Illusions Fence is based in Long Island, and already serves the New York City metro area (and beyond), which made them ideal for a sponsorship of the project. While their specialty is colored and wood-grained vinyl fence, Illusions Fence along with their partner, Eastern Wholesale Fence Co., Inc. provide basically every fence product available, including chain link.
I provided Jeremy a list of all the materials needed, and the date and location for delivery, and he took care of the rest. In spite of a very tight timeframe, they were able to arrange a delivery directly to the site with all the needed chain link fabric, pipe, and fittings--awesome work!!
Illusions Fence's sponsorship of Ghost House really did make this project a reality!!! I am exceedingly grateful...