STUDIO | 2022-2023
John Doherty Memorial Garage

Current sanitation infrastructure conditions in Manhattan Community Districts 6 and 8 have negative impacts on service delivery, equity and the environment. Our studio was tasked by the Department of Sanitation to site a sanitation garage in CD6 and 8. While DSNY’s 2015 Brookdale Garage proposal may have failed to urge stakeholders to support physical infrastructure as the solution to these problems, our studio has designed, sited and planned the John Doherty Memorial Garage, which offers up unconventional siting and compelling ecological and community benefits to make a very different argument. 

The solutions detailed in the John Doherty Memorial Garage plan offer goals and recommendations resulting from extensive research into Districts 6 and 8’s existing conditions, case studies exploring the successes of similar projects, and interviews with professionals in fields like waste management and environmental planning. 

These proposed recommendations ultimately come together in a vision: to develop an in-water sanitation facility that will enhance the quality of sanitation service in Manhattan Community Districts 6 and 8 and redefine the role of sanitation infrastructure by committing to the improvement of broader environmental conditions and responding to unmet community needs. While remaining realistic and conscious of adverse impacts, this facility aims to foster sustainability and interspecies habitability in the project area and provide human-centered benefits to employees, residents, and visitors alike.

With this vision in mind, key goals of this project include:

  • Improve the quality of sanitation service in Manhattan Community Districts 6 & 8 by providing accessibility to the street grid, plentiful fleet storage space, necessary on-site facilities for workers, and storage for salt, fuel and other equipment.
  • Site, design and program a realistic, feasible, and future-proof sanitation facility by pursuing compliance with relevant regulatory considerations, integrating water-dependent use, exploring opportunities for co-location with other city agencies, minimizing construction and land acquisition costs, and incorporating extensive community outreach.
  • Improve local, citywide, and regional environmental conditions by ensuring the facility is resilient, powered by electricity, decreasing mobile emissions from sanitation vehicles, and increasing marine-habitat for native species.
  • Use the garage as an opportunity to meet community needs in sanitation and beyond by optimizing collaborations with local stakeholders and institutions and designing a facility with tangible physical and social benefits to the surrounding community and DSNY workers.

To satisfy these goals and to overcome the difficulties of a traditional siting which are described in the report, the John Doherty Memorial Garage is being proposed for planning and construction in the East River immediately adjacent to the 34th Street terminus. Rising out of 20 feet of water to a height of 125 feet including the underwater portions, this seemingly unimaginable sanitation garage will facilitate the provision of efficient and effective sanitation service to Manhattan Community Districts 6 and 8 by DSNY while also providing abundant community benefits and improving conditions in the natural environment. Ensconced by a habitable berm seeded with native flora, this garage seeks to redefine sanitation infrastructure in the public eye with its dual role as a state-of-the-art critical municipal facility and a beacon of the benefits NYC can provide its residents and the environment.

At a Glance
Department of Sanitation
Alex Sommer
Dre Avila
Andrea Bianco
Matthew Choi
Jack Cohn
Charlie Cunningham
Chelsea Evans
Anna Kemeny
Sarah Jane McIntyre (SJ)
Victoria Pennacchio
Maxx Salat
Paige Sternberg
Haley Ryder
Wei Yu
View Report