Earlier this year, The Daily along with historian Judith Berdy worked with Business Insider on an AVAC story. It begins with a history, but ends with a hopeful future. Roosevelt Island is pretty much stranded in the middle.
The AVAC Story in a Video
The crew we worked with explained that they were on a mission, the goal of which was highlighting waste removal. AVAC systems at Disney World and Roosevelt Island were the focus of a walk through history.
Some historical clips come off as more than a little odd. For example, during a cramped rush through Roosevelt Island’s history, a brief clip of a professional football game from what looks like the 1940s races by.
Did the Roosevelt Island Whattayacallems win? We don’t know.
It’s a blinkered view that leaves the AVAC isolated as the only big deal in developing Roosevelt Island when, in reality, it was not even the most important piece of the puzzle. It comes in third, after the Tram and the pioneering community concept.
That aside, the AVAC story begins in Disney World and makes a long pit stop on Roosevelt Island. Other than unintentional humor when an AVAC engineer says, “You won’t find any rats here,” it’s accurate, if soft on RIOC which barely gets a mention.
Without pointing fingers, it shows how the system here deteriorated from lack of maintenance over the years. More modern installations in Europe compare favorably with far more versatile developments.
Some merge rubbish with recycling and do it through automation.
In contrast, our once groundbreaking AVAC comes off sorta like a Model T with no upgrades in the works. After residents put millions into upgrading the electrical panel controls, the video shows the current version something more akin to a Smithsonian exhibit.
The mostly positive video points forward to the first AVAC installation in New York in 50 years. Being built now, it will serve four buildings in a Polo Grounds housing project.