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Unlike most global commodities, road salt doesn’t arrive in New York in neatly packaged bags inside shipping containers. It comes in a great heap in a ship’s hold, and is stored in a network of massive piles until it is scattered on the icy streets. That refreshingly transparent supply chain has gained a spiritually suitable storage facility in the Department of Sanitation’s new Salt Shed, at the intersection of Canal Street and the West Side Highway. Designed by Dattner Architects, the Salt Shed wears its function on its crystalline concrete exterior. It looks more like a Yugoslav war memorial than a West Side warehouse. When the sun sets, the walls turn a dozen shades of orange. You can’t go inside the Salt Shed, but that’s just as well. (It’s full of salt.) It’s yours anyway, a fine little gem of public design along the highway.
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