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A Huck Finn Moment, Recalled

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I first met Pete Seeger at Whiz Bang Quick City II (a four-day experimental architecture event held outside of Phoenicia, NY) in 1972. At the time, I was part of Big Foot Foam, a small team of folks using sprayed urethane foam to build energy-efficient homes. 
Pete was intrigued by the tiny floating foam shelter I had made, on the spot, in which I slept—mid-pond—on that long weekend. He told me that he had an idea for a vessel that could travel up and down the Hudson using no power other than its currents and tides. Sailors would simply go with the flow, while it was moved in their desired direction, and drop anchor when it did not. He said it could be built like a large raft, using discarded oil drums filled with urethane foam.



Top left: My small frog-like home-from-home, migrating to the pond.


Pete was so charmingly free of technological savvy that I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the environmental hazards of the petrochemicals used to make urethane foam, nor that the used oil drums would work perfectly well for his raft—all by themselves.


References to Whiz Bang Quick City II 
A Temporary City Celebrates Cooperation and Creativity. Mother Earth News, July/August 1972.

O’Corozine, Rich. “Off the Map.” Home Hudson Valley, May 14, 2012.

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