‘Eagles in the Sky’: Inspired by a Floating Nest, a Mid-Century Park Boardwalk Comes to Flight

Thirty years ago, Joseph Sinclair and his friends in New Jersey dreamed up a springboard in their backyard and flew over Manhattan in a homemade Plexiglas airplane. The six-person crew, dubbed Zone Nine, climbed…

‘Eagles in the Sky’: Inspired by a Floating Nest, a Mid-Century Park Boardwalk Comes to Flight

Thirty years ago, Joseph Sinclair and his friends in New Jersey dreamed up a springboard in their backyard and flew over Manhattan in a homemade Plexiglas airplane. The six-person crew, dubbed Zone Nine, climbed on to the platform and flew back home.

Today the same club is being co-operated by the Performing Arts & Rehabilitation (PEARL) in Stone Harbor, where they hold spin classes and softball games. Now, PEARL has decided to branch out into the air. The organization has signed on with the Eagle Builders, who will be doing work at the building. This is not the first time they have worked with the group of mid-century apartment towers. The Eagle Builders have a fleet of four helicopters that can be used to transport people and supplies to and from their worksites. Now the club is able to offer something other businesses can only dream of: aerial recreation.

The project has been named Philadelphia’s Aerial Circus Incubator for their work. Project manager Mikena Pulcsic said that skywriting was the earliest project they did together and it was their thing.

“We bought a vintage jet plane, and when we wanted to advertise, we could have it flying us,” Ms. Pulcsic said. “We thought there would be a more low-key way to advertise. We just figured if a helicopter was something that was flying, it would be something that would be more controlled and more fun.”

After the work begun, lots of requests to rent helicopters dropped in. Now the private space is booked out from January to March.

Sarah McNatt, PEARL’s executive director, said it was difficult for companies to find an alternative way to promote their businesses. The climbers take clients up and around the buildings. Staff members also lead yoga classes and physical therapy sessions.

Ms. Pulcsic said that as well as the skywriting, the organization used their helicopter a few times to bring exhibits to the buildings. They have been working with the Fiber Arts Guild on a vast installation. The theme is “Reinventing Prohibition,” Ms. Pulcsic said. That’s a choice of words that is in sync with the local area. Ms. Pulcsic and her friends launched their club in New Jersey and wanted to leave their mark. But this project is expanding the concept far beyond that.

“The purpose of this project is twofold: it’s about awareness, and it’s about a piece of art,” Ms. Pulcsic said. “It’s a part of history that’s being recreated, but also an opportunity to be a participant. It’s not a literal documentary. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about experiencing things as they unfold. It is a transitional space. It’s an industrial environment and it’s also an arts environment.”

PEARL plans to cover the cost of the aerials and the helicopter so that they can fly frequently as donations are made.

“The projects that we’re building are being realized to make people’s work spaces more authentic to their surroundings,” Ms. Pulcsic said. “There are times when we need to know exactly what’s behind a window or behind a door, and we’re allowed to explore those capabilities of the airspace. People like to feel safe when they’re up there.”

PEARL says it aims to make the Atlas Center available year-round, 24 hours a day, to anyone interested in aerial work. It should be open for the start of the school year in August.

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