Garbage in, Golf Course out

The course of a Bronx dump is forever changed—for better or worse, for richer and for poorer

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Fields of dreams: The city plays ball with a developer while the neighbors feel left out.
photo: Cary Conover
When I mentioned there was no website yet for his course, Gagné showed me some computer-generated photos his designers are working on. In the foreground the pictures show the envisioned emerald-green fairways and rolling reed-brown hills and dales of the course, and in the immediate background is the East River, where it is in reality. Right across that in his pictures is a bit of fantasy: the towering buildings of Wall Street. The trick photo makes it look as if those buildings were merely a strong 3-iron distant from the back nine at Ferry Point and there were nothing so cumbersome in between as LaGuardia Airport, the borough of Queens, and a hunk of Brooklyn.

"We're just playing with some images," Gagné says. "These aren't final."

Gagné says he has not taken a salary on the golf project in two years. He has brought investors' money into it and says he is doing all he can to make it come to fruition.

Ferry Point Park: Heavily neglected by the government, heavily used by the neighborhood
photo: Cary Conover
Ferry Point Park: Heavily neglected by the government, heavily used by the neighborhood

One night after an event at the New York Botanical Garden, he came out to the golf course with his wife and drove to where the 12th hole will be. He pulled his golf clubs from the trunk of his car. Still in his tuxedo, standing in a pool of light provided by the headlights, he began driving balls into the darkness. It was impossible to see where they landed.

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