Monthly Archives: March 2014

Update Storm King

I finally talked to someone at the PR firm that handles all of Storm King press and communication inquiries. She would send our request to the proper contact at Storm King that would review our request. We exchanged emails about the future use of the footage.

I posted a very basic wireframe in Github, as well as a VERY VERY VERY initial HTML shell (still working on the rest of the structure). I developed the script of the website to help figure out the rest. It is also on Github.

I drafted the two paragraphs that will introduce the project. I wrote the questions for David Collens (only five because it will be a very small video). These elements are on the our TitanPad.


Those were the things I need to work on by April 31st.


Project(s) update

The Hart Island project is on hold; I’ve mostly (but not yet entirely) lost hope that it will work out, for reasons I’ll explain in class.

I’m still helping out with (and excited about!) the Bell Labs project. I reached out to Jon Gertner, who literally wrote the Bell Labs book, over break, who was open to an interview; we’ll be interviewing him either this or next Friday (hopefully one date to be confirmed soon). I think he’ll provide some helpful context.

I’ve also become interested in droning the Gowanus Canals, that mysterious area in the very up-and-coming neighborhood that’s recognized as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the U.S. I’m in the process of researching the canal further and establishing an angle. A former colleague who has written on the topic provided some helpful contacts, including that of Gennaro Brooks-Church, who sounds like a fascinating character; I’m envisioning profiles of him and other individuals closely connected to canal conservancy projects woven with drone imagery of the canal itself.

Mission Proposal: EV Grieve

ev_grieve ev_grieve

One of my favorite blogs is EV Grieve. Their daily updates about what’s going on in East Village in New York City offers the community a forum to report humorous sightings to more serious incidents that often don’t make it into the news.

Covering some of these stories with a drone would allow a new perspective on some of the issues raised. It would be interesting to create a persona around the drone and the way it reports the stories.

Whether it is taking photos or video, my plan is to connect with the owner of the blog to see what story could best be covered by a drone.


Governors Island’s New Park



In May 2014, a new 30-acre park will open in New York on Governors Island. For over 200 years, Governors Island had been a military installation, first used by the Army, and in 1966 transferred to the Coast Guard. In the mid 2000s, Governors Island opened to the public as a space for a variety of purposes: arts installations, concerts, food fairs, car shows, and more.

For the past several years, however, a completely new park on the island has been designed with public input as to how they would want to see a 21st century park in NYC. Though closed to the public until Memorial Day, this phase of the park is largely completed, empty on weekends, and visually appealing.

A drone journalism project about the new park on Governors Island would be the ideal story for our class to tell. It’s relevant to New Yorkers and timed well with when our project would finish, we have an excellent chance of getting the cooperation of park officials who could work with us to give us access to park designers and other informational sources, there would be little to no safety or privacy concerns, and, most importantly, using a drone would allow us to visually tell a story that couldn’t be told any other way.

Mission proposal: Feature Story on Storm King Art Center

Storm King is an open-air museum and one of the “world’s leading sculpture parks”. It is located one hour north of New York City, in the lower Hudson Valley. Its collection comprises more than 100 sculptures by acclaimed artists from all over the world. The location of the park and the large-scale sculptures makes it an ideal subject for a feature journalism piece using UAV’s. Drones could provide exciting images not only of the art pieces but also of the natural environment surrounding the museum.

I imagine an interactive article that also provides a brief tour of the museum. Such article would allow to zoom in and out of the different pieces, providing multimedia content about selected pieces. It could also provide a map of the possible routes in the park from one piece to the other. Because of the museum size (500 acres), the project could be  shot in one or two days.

Footage from different moments in the day would be ideal (sunrise and sunset).

What is needed?

  1. Research on the park: enough information on the internet. The interesting part would be the visuals that we could provide using the UAV’s
  2. Contact Museum Director for interview: David R. Collens, Director & Curator
  3. Select some pieces.
  4. Research on emblematic pieces: Who is the artist? What’s the story behind the sculpture?
  5. Contact specific artists for possible interviews (possibly very difficult).
  6. Map routes, using “satellite” style shots.
  7. UAV’s footage:
    1. Shot of the whole park (Google Earth-like), by the DGI Phantom.
    2. Videos and pictures from individual pieces (multiple angles and altitudes, both with the DGI Phantom and the Parrot AR.Drones
    3. Images of the routes
    4. Video interview with David R. Collens

Captura de pantalla 2014-03-02 a la(s) 11.42.10 PM


Drone Journalism Mission Proposal: Hart Island Investigation

“Hart Island is one of those places in New York that many won’t ever see.” 

Hart Island is a small island off of the Bronx at the western end of Long Island Sound. According to wikipedia, it has been used “as a Union Civil War prison camp, a lunatic asylum, a tuberculosis sanatorium, potter’s field, and a boys’ reformatory.” Currently, it serves as a mass grave site. The Department of Correction states that more than 850,000 people are buried on Hart Island (other estimates range from 750,000 to over a million). Riker’s Island inmates serve as the gravediggers. It’s difficult for pretty much any other living being to obtain access—including those who have family members buried there. When access is obtained, visitors are escorted to a gazebo very close to the ferry dock; they can’t walk around freely or visit the actual burial area.

Hart Island is ripe for a drone mission! For the countless people who have wanted to but been unable to visit the island and see the area in which their loved ones are buried, a drone perspective would be hugely meaningful. Others would gain visual access to a part of NYC they don’t know much about and/or haven’t seen much of.

The island has a fascinating, multifaceted history and some open information about those buried there, so there is also rich potential for accompanying interactive data visualizations.

Possible people to interview in conjunction with drone footage:

-Melinda Hunt, an artist who is fascinated with Hart Island and has published a book and produced a film about it. She also founded the Hart Island Project.
-Laurie Grant, whose stillborn daughter was buried in the Hart Island cemetery by mistake, and whose grave she has been unable to visit (one of many such stories). The log books that keep track of who is buried there were not public until 2008.
-If possible, it would be interesting (perhaps through one of the above sources) to find someone visiting Hart’s island and send them with a hidden camera to get that viewpoint of the island. (I have access to hidden cameras through surveillance documentary).
-If possible, would also be interesting to interview a former Riker’s island inmate who dug graves there to describe this process.

Read more about the island: