Robert (Bob) Bisaccio



The Model That Wouldn’t Fit - One of my fondest memories of my 37 years goes back to my time spent in the Chief Architect’s Office dating from the last days of A. Gordon Lorimer just before his retirement up to Roger Carroll’s tenure as Chief before his untimely passing.

A particular moment during the mid-1970’s -- our office was actively engaged in the Bus Terminal Expansion Project. We spent many months on the design development of the exterior as well as the interior spaces. As we prepared for the Annual Board of Commissioners meeting, staff was involved in creating all the elements necessary to illustrate what would be required to rehabilitate this massive structure. The key components were the development of two large scale models, one 1/8 scale model would depict all levels of the exterior rehabilitation and addition from 8th Avenue to 9th Avenue, and from 40th to 42nd Streets. The key element was the magnificent corten steel façade that would unite the old with the new. It was an imposing structure that was beautifully illustrated in model form.

The second model was unlike anything that I can ever recall being produced by any previous Port Authority staff. A ¼ scale model of the Main Concourse interior, again spanning from 8th to 9th Avenues and encompassing the areas from 40th to 42nd Streets. If memory serves me correct, it was well over 12 feet in length, and over 6 feet in width. As we feverishly worked to gear up for the Board meeting, staff put in unbelievable hours designing and building spaces simultaneously.
Finally, the day arrived, “Board Day”. As we proceeded to gather the presentation design props, moving the models was the last step as we made our way to the 67th floor. The exterior model went first, no problem. Now came the massive interior model, wheeled on three carts to the elevator lobby, PANIC set in as we quickly realized that no matter how we tried to manipulate the model we couldn’t get it in the elevator without causing unnecessary damage. After months of design and planning, how could we neglect to plan for this final step?

Two options came into play, the freight elevator ran infrequently, and we had little time to spare. Option two, the biggest decision of the week, carefully cut the model in half from north to south between 40th and 42nd Streets. As the old adage goes, “measure twice, cut once”. SUCCESS! In two trips we made it, set the room up with accent lighting, easels, and renderings with the models as the focal point.

It was a proud moment, and extremely gratifying as we all learned that the project was approved in its entirely. It is hard for me to believe that almost 50 years have passed, and now the Port Authority is looking to create another state-of-the-art Bus Terminal Redevelopment Project. My only wish is that if a model is used for illustration purposes, I hope it will make it into an elevator in one piece.



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