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Bronx Chapter Represented at Engineering Week Event at NYU Polytechnic

Posted by GEng on February 23, 2015  /   Posted in BXPE, Featured

Edwin Lemanski and I represented the Bronx County Chapter of NYSSPE at the Metropolitan Engineering Societies Council (MESC) Engineers Week celebration on the evening of Feb 19, 2015 at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn.
We attended even though the weather was far from ideal and the location was not exactly convenient to get to from the Bronx. We drove – drive time from Riverdale was 65 minutes in rush hour, return was 35 minutes, and there was parking ($27) at the Marriott across from the school. We noticed the MetroTech Jay St subway station (A Train) was right at the entrance to the school.
It turned out to be an enjoyable event and certainly merited our support. Started with a buffet dinner – nothing fancy but good food. Then brief opening remarks by MESC Chair Wasyl Kinach, PE and then a welcome from our host, Richard Thorsen, Dept Chair and VP Emeritus, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NYU Polytechnic. A note about the school – once known as Brooklyn Poly – it became New York Poly in 1973 when NYU closed its University Heights Bronx campus and merged its Engineering school with Brooklyn Poly – and then NYU reversed its earlier action and the school is now named NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.
Following the welcoming remarks, Sal Galetta, PE, presented the Engineers Week Proclamation from NYC Mayor de Blasio. Although the Proclamation intends to honor Engineers on EWeek, the mayor’s writers made sure that the Mayor’s agenda was the higher priority – opening with “Whereas by building additional affordable housing…” A copy of the full Proclamation will be posted on our website (www.BxNSPE.org).
The highlight of the evening was a talk by Philip Michael Tuts, Professor and Chair, Dept of Physics, Columbia University on “Engineering and Operation of the Large Hadron Collider, the Largest Instrument in the World”. That title was probably invented to support the one PDH which was granted for the talk. The actual talk was more interesting – focusing on the ATLAS Experiment (that the speaker collaborated on) which statistically proved the existence of the Higgs Boson particle resulting from the super high speed collision of protons. I will not attempt to repeat the talk but the information was presented in an understandable manner with just enough theoretical physics thrown in to underscore how much more work needs to be done in this area. Even if theoretical physics is not your thing, I would encourage anyone with a curiosity for scientific knowledge to catch a talk by Prof. Tuts. At this event, the Q and A had to be cut short because of time limitations.
My only negative comment is that I found the turnout to be a disappointment. About fifty in attendance. This event should have drawn a larger turnout.
Gee Eng, PE

2015Proclamation  (pdf version)

Mayor Bill de Blasio's Engineer's Week Proclamation for 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Engineer’s Week Proclamation for 2015

Bronx Chapter and Borough President Diaz to Celebrate Bronx Engineering Achievements

Posted by GEng on May 02, 2014  /   Posted in Bx Items, Featured, Local Events, News

To help commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Bronx as a County in 2014, the Bronx Chapter of NYSSPE has been compiling a list of Engineering achievements associated with our Borough. In meetings with Borough President Reuben Diaz Jr. and his staff, the BP has expressed enthusiasm for this project that is expected to culminate in an exhibition in the Bronx County Courthouse Rotunda.

The Bronx Chapter’s team for this project is composed of Chapter President Jack Kleinfeld and chapter members Ed Sawchuk, Peter Piechicniski, and Gee Eng. A paid intern has been hired to provide research and documentation for the project. To date, $1200 in donations have been promised. Additional donations and help with the project is needed – if you wish to make a donation or contribute in any way – please contact Jack.

Here’s a partial list of the Engineering Achievements that are being considered for inclusion in this project. with brief notes about them.  Confirmation of inclusion in the list is subject to further research.

Hall of Justice

Kingsbridge Armory — Largest Armory in the country, maybe the world. New plans for ice skating rink.

Valentine-Varian House — First use of certain materials.

Yankee Stadium — both the new and the original “House that Ruth Built”.

Grand Concourse — Urban planning concepts, usage of underground pass ways under intersections with major cross streets, Art-Deco buildings.

Cross-Bronx Expressway — Much maligned but vital link for I-95.

NYC Water Supply System — Bronx components include the Jerome Park Reservoir/Pumping Station, Filtration Plant, and valve chambers.

Croton Aqueduct/Highbridge — One of the first supplies of drinking water in NY and still working.

Arbor House — Energy efficiency, LEED Platinum certified.

Bronx Subway System — use of innovative underground railway system.

Triboro Bridge — and all the other significant bridges connecting to other boroughs as well as intra-boro.

Orchard Beach — a Robert Moses creation that is a completely man-made beach.

Sound Engineering — technical advances that were part of the birth of hip hop in the Bronx.

Estey Piano Company — Oldest known piano factory in the Bronx. The Bronx was the piano manufacturing capital of the United States.

The Lorillard Snuff Mill — Tobacco manufacturing, example of the Bronx River used for industry.

Concrete Plant Park — Site of a concrete plant (1940-1987) – contaminated soil remediation and plans to use the silos for power generators.

Bronx Zoo Lion House — Renovation and reconstruction that earned LEED Gold standing.

New York (Bronx) Botanical Gardens — Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Cast iron structured green house. Complex heating and cooling systems. — Invention of Puffed Grains, initial development of the methods that lead to puffed wheat and puffed rice as breakfast cereals.

Mill Pond Park Powerhouse — first to receive gold LEED in New York.

Montefiore Medical Center — Energy innovations, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system.

Jordan L. Mott — Steel manufacturing in what is now Mott Haven. Patent for use of anthracite coal in steel manufacturing

Highbridge — Oldest standing bridge in the city being renovated for use as pedestrian park.

Van Cortlandt Park — Storm water treatment Comfort Station. 3D Laser scanning to provide topographic and utility image.

Lehman Day Care — Conservation of energy.

Suggestions are encouraged for other Engineering Achievements to be included. The achievements do not have to be structures or infrastructure. We are hoping to identify patents developed by individuals or business operating in the Bronx.

As part of Bronx Week (May 8 – 18, 2014) activities, there will be trolley tours of Bronx neighborhoods. This list with appropriate commentary will be made available for the tours. The ultimate goal with the list is to create an exhibit. The final form of the exhibit has not been determined – but may include a website, a museum quality exhibit for the Courthouse Rotunda or Bronx Museum or elsewhere, a video program, or an old fashion paper publication. The ultimate result will depend on financial and human resources available to carry out the project. Please help by making a donation or getting involved.

 

 

Mathcounts Update: Horace Mann, Riverdale, and MS 129 Advance to NYS Mathcounts Competition

Posted by GEng on March 11, 2014  /   Posted in BXPE, Featured, MathCounts

Bronx Chapter of NYSSPE conducted the Mathcounts in the Bronx Competition on February 11, 2014 at Lehman College and the teams from the three Bronx schools advanced to the next round in the nationwide mathematics competition.

The three teams (Michael Caosun, Benjamin Spector, Derrick Xiong, and Andrew Caosun from Horace Mann;  Lucy Pan, Erxi Lu, Teji Vijaykumar, and Julian Burden from Riverdale Country School; and Shawon Paul, Jenab Diallo, Avana Francis, and Habiba Meem from MS 129) plus two additional individual students,  Matthew Li from Horace Mann and Andy Reyes from MS 223 will be competing against top teams from all of New York State on March 15, 2014 on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

At the NYS competition, the four top competitors will advance to the National Mathcounts Championship on May 9, 2014 in Orlando, FL.

The competition also featured a Countdown Round, a JEOPARDY style head to head competition among the top ten scorers. Math problems were read and displayed to pairs of competitors who then raced to solve the problem and buzz in with the correct answer before his opponent. Matthew Li from Horace Mann was the winner of the Countdown Round.

Congratulations to all the competitors at the Bronx competition and good luck to all those who will be competing at the NYS competition.

Mathcounts in the Bronx Competition Feb 11, 2014

Posted by GEng on February 04, 2014  /   Posted in Bx Items, Featured, Local Events, MathCounts

Mathcounts in the Bronx Competition Feb 11, 2014

 

RPI Mathcounts 2013

Mathcounts competitors at the 2013 New York State competition at RPI.

The “Mathcounts in the Bronx!” competition is scheduled for the Faculty Dining Room in the MusicBuilding at LehmanCollege on Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 from 3PM to 7PM.

 

The competition  is the national Mathcounts program to stimulate interest in mathematics among middle school students (grades 6, 7, and 8). The program provides materials supporting math clubs and other math related school activities and provides the framework for a national mathematics competition similar in structure to the National spelling Bee.

 

Participating schools this year are CIS 303, Horace Mann Middle School, MS223 School of Finance and Technology, Twin Parks Upper/I.S.229, and Riverdale Country School. The top three schools from the Bronx competition will advance to the New YorkState competition at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY  on March 15, 2014. The top four competitors at the NYS competition will advance to the National Finals in Orlando on May 9, 2014.

The Bronx Chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers sponsors and organizes the annual Mathcounts competition for Bronx middle schools students. LehmanCollege provides the space for the competition. And all the work to make it happen is done by volunteers.

 

More volunteers are needed to help run this and future competitions. No math skills are needed of the volunteers.  If you are able to help, please contact Gee Eng at mathcounts@BxNSPE.org.

 

Why should you help?

 

The headlines tell the story. American students are falling behind their global competitors in the critical areas of math and science. As politicians and educators debate the issue, the trend continues to be negative. To reverse this trend, more of us need to get involved.

 

Supporting Mathcounts is one way to get involved. Learn more about the program at www.mathcounts.org. Find out if your local schools participate in Mathcounts and other math enrichment programs. If not, demand that they do participate. And then volunteer to support the ongoing activities.

 

While Mathcounts is the prime focus of this article, two other local programs with similar objective deserved to be mentioned. The New York Math Circle (www.nymathcircle.org) provides a math enrichment program to supplement  math education. There is a tuition – so consider sponsoring a deserving student with financial hardship.

 

Another worthy program is SPMPS – Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving.  SPMPS is geared to provide math enrichment to  deserving students in underserved NYC public schools. The program is free for students who are accepted. If you are mathematically inclined, you can volunteer to be a mentor. Otherwise, you can make a donation at their website so they can serve more students (http://www.artofproblemsolving.org/spmps/)

 

And of course, Mathcounts in the Bronx on Feb 11, 2014. Hope to hear from you.

 

Gee Eng, PE

 

Welcome to KNICblog

Posted by GEng on January 01, 2014  /   Posted in Bx Items, Featured

 

NYC CITY COUNCIL APPROVES KINGSBRIDGE NATIONAL ICE CENTER

KNIC rendering

Cutaway rendering of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center

 

The $320 million proposal to convert the long vacant Kingsbridge Armory into the world’s largest indoor ice skating center won City Council approval by a vote of 48 – 1 on December 10, 2013. As illustrated in the cutaway rendering above (courtesy NYC EDC), the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) will have nine rinks on two levels with the main central rink having a seating capacity of 5,000. KNIC is scheduled to open in 2017 with Mark Messier as CEO.

Messier, captain of the Stanley Cup winning 1994 NY Rangers, has already played a key role – helping Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz Jr. and other proponents win the community support that was so vital in moving this project forward. Four years ago, it was community opposition that shelved the ill-conceived proposal to convert the armory into a retail mall. For the KNIC, Messier and his group has worked to resolve traffic, parking, environmental and living wage issues, addressed concerns raised by local business and community leaders, and now forming partnerships with area schools not just for ice time but creating community programs to introduce inner city youth to ice sports. BP Diaz is very enthusiastic – especially about the last item – citing the success of a youth ice hockey program he saw in action in Philadelphia and how it improved the lives of the participants beyond the rink.

If readers of this blog get the impression that this writer is a fan of the project and is rooting for its success, they are correct. The Kingsbridge Armory is such a unique structure that has been vacant far too long. I have admired it since the first time I saw it arriving at the Kingsbridge Station on the IRT Woodlawn train in 1957. (Subway tokens were 15 cents as was a slice of pizza.)

A magnificent structure that had been designated a NYC Landmark in 1957, it was rapidly decaying from disuse and neglect since 1996. I have spent time thinking about ideas for its next life. I spoke at Lehman College when BP Diaz held public hearings on the earlier proposal for a retail mall. I strongly opposed that plan which would merely provide retail space for stores that would compete against established businesses in the immediate area. If the mall was built, it would create a dead zone in the surrounding area. Not the way to revitalize a neighborhood.

I suggested reuse as high tech incubator space in conjunction with one of the area colleges. It was a severely flawed suggestion – economically unviable and certainly not the best reuse of the unique structure. No surprise that no one acted on it.

The proposed ice center will preserve the exterior structure. It will make full use of the interior space. It works with the community. And although I do not ice skate and an ice center is something I never would have thought of, I want it to succeed.

BTW, the one dissenting vote was Brooklyn Councilman Charles Baron who was quoted in Crain’s NY: “No black or Latino skates that much.”

I’m betting he is wrong.

As construction begins, I will monitor its progress and report along the way.

Gee Eng, PE

 

 

 

 

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