Artist Raising Money for Pedestrian Bridge to Governors Island, Will Worry About Pesky Permits Later

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The current rendering of the floating bridge to Governors Island.

For years, Nancy Nowacek has dreamed of building a 1,440-foot floating pedestrian bridge connecting Brooklyn to Governors Island, which is otherwise only accessible by ferry. And now she’s launched a Kickstarter campaign that, as of Tuesday afternoon, had raised $7,721 toward its $25,000 goal. The campaign page boasts that it would be the city’s first citizen-built bridge, as well as its longest-ever temporary bridge. Much of the work on the project, called Citizen Bridge, has been done by nearly 200 volunteers, and according to its Kickstarter page, the idea is to “create an intimate experience of being with the water, rather than seeing it from the shore, above from a bridge, or in transport by boat or ferry.”

Plans for the bridge are now in their fourth year of development. In that time, according to the Kickstarter, the people behind the project have “engaged in a wide variety of artistic, technical, community- and consensus-building activities and have contacted all the necessary regulatory agencies.” They say they’ve also learned the concerns of those that manage traffic on the waterways, as well as those who own the land on either side of the water, which is known as Buttermilk Channel. The current prototype is the seventh one so far, and was the first designed with the help of engineering firms. The next step, according to the Kickstarter, is a proof-of-concept span “that will deepen our understanding of operations, logistics, and safety systems as well as integrate anchorage systems into the design for the first time.”

Before you make plans to walk on water, however, do note the “risks and challenges” listed on the Kickstarter page, which seem not-insignificant: “Because Citizen Bridge defies standard permitting categories, obtaining the necessary permits and/or insurance for this phase of the project may cause unforeseen delays.”

Artist Wants to Build Bridge to Governors Island