A plan to use a 140-year-old lighthouse to capture images of one of the biggest economic development projects in Staten Island's history, a partnership between the Robbins Reef Lighthouse and the New York Wheel, has advantages for both parties. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
About a mile off the shore of Staten Island sits the Robbins Reef Lighthouse, a landmarked building named for the seals once known for lounging on the reef there during low tide.
With a bird's-eye view of the island's north shore, the many ships that pass through the Kill Van Kull no longer rely on the old lighthouse for navigation, though a green light still shines every five seconds on the waterway to give a little more help as they pass by.
"It's perfectly positioned to be," said Rich Marin of New York Wheel. "It's one-fifth of the way between us and Manhattan."
"Us" is the future home of the New York Wheel, the world's tallest Ferris wheel, to be built next to the St. George Ferry Terminal.
Hoping to find a place to capture its construction, and eventually broadcast live webcasts of the site when it opens in 2016, Marin contacted organizers at the Noble Maritime Collection, the island marine historians who took over the lighthouse in 2011.
"He writes me an email, so I write back, 'Dear Richard, I don't know if you realize, but we have no power at the lighthouse,'" said Erin Urban of the Noble Maritime Collection.
Hurricane Sandy caused about $100,000 in damage, much of which still remains.
To help the cleanup, and in exchange for allowing him to install 24/7 web cameras, Marin will install solar and wind panels there to finally give the lighthouse some juice.
"With that video record, you can do so many things," Marin said. "Not only show the passing of the seasons, but show the construction, show the way this looks on a busy day, on a not busy day."
There's no set timeline for when the lighthouse will be fully repaired, but the goal is to have it finished by the time construction on the wheel begins next summer.
"When you look at our website and look at that video, it's going to say 'Noble Maritime Collection,'" Marin said. "Do you think maybe that'll help people decide to go to Snug Harbor and see the Noble Maritime Collection? You bet it will."
That's the perfect situation for Urban, who hopes that some of the expected 4 million visitors to the wheel will check out the lighthouse as well.