Freshkills Park Blog

Fifth Annual Haiku Contest




Freshkills Park CELEBRATES National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month which means it is time for the fifth annual Freshkills Park Haiku Contest!  We will be celebrating by asking you to share your impressions, experiences, thoughts and ideas of what Freshkills Park is, will be, and what it means to you- in haiku form. A haiku is a type of poem written in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables for a total of 17 syllables. For example, here is one of our winners from a previous year:

Somewhere underneath
The bike paths I will ride on
My old love letters

Email your haiku, along with your name and age to by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 29th

Prizes will be awarded to the top youth winner as well as the top three adult winners. If you are under 18, please indicate that you are submitting as a youth entrant. Submit for a chance to receive exclusive Freshkills Park merchandise. To learn more about Freshkills Park and to stay up to date on the latest news, visit the Freshkills Park Blog at and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

April 3, 2013 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Art out of Recycled Materials

Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium in Times Square is hosting a contest titled “Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge” for New York City art students. The submissions for the contest are due in April and selected students will have their work exhibited at Ripley’s. A recent New York Times article highlighted one teacher’s creative interpretation of the prompt to develop works of art from unconventional materials.  Jennifer Merdjan, an art teacher at Bard High School Early College in Queens, is having her students make their submissions with recyclable materials.

By using this uniquely environmental spin, Ms. Merdjan’s students are presented with the opportunity to rethink waste products and develop novel approaches to reuse. Some of her students’ projects include a chandelier made from hamster tubes, a handbag sewn together with bicycle tire tubes, and even a dress made with 1,134 plastic straws!

Freshkills Park, built on the former Fresh Kills Landfill, can be thought of in the same vein.  As a repurposed landscape and a work of art,  Freshkills Park is a prime example of what can come from creative planning and restoration.

Image source: New York Times

Hamster Tube Chandelier (source: NYT)

March 21, 2013 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a comment

Landfill Harmonic, a documentary on making music from trash



An upcoming documentary entitled Landfill Harmonic chronicles the work of Favio Chavez, who is using trash to inspire his local community in Cateura, Paraguay.  The documentary follows Chavez, landfill technician and director of the appropriately named Recycled Orchestra, as he constructs musical instruments made of trash sourced directly from the landfill.  He provides these instruments to local youth both to inspire them and to try to keep them out of gangs – an unfortunate and all-too-common fate for many in Cateura. He also hopes to use the Recycled Orchestra as a platform from which to teach the importance of recycling, conservation, and the hazards of wastefulness.

At first, building the instruments was a difficult task for Chavez, a landfill technician with only basic carpentry skills. But over the course of four years, Chavez has perfected his craft, discovering which materials works best for each instrument. The film depicts how an oil drum and meat tenderizers can sound as deep and rich as a cello, and that music can be a force to change the lives of a marginalized community.

Like Freshkills Park, Favio Chavez and his Recycled Orchestra are finding opportunities in what is, to many, simply a blighted landscape.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Maintenance Art at Freshkills Park

If you’ve been to Sneak Peak, perhaps you’ve noticed your own reflection in the side of a Department of Sanitation garbage truck.

This 20 cubic-yard garbage truck faced with hand-tempered mirror is The Social Mirror by artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles. The Social Mirror debuted in the grand finale of the first NYC Art Parade in 1983 and was most recently exhibited at the 2007 Armory Show. According to Ukeles, “This project allowed citizens to see themselves linked with the handlers of their waste.”

Since publishing Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969!, Ukeles’s work has revolved around the role of the artist and our relationship to maintenance and service work, and most importantly the workers who perform these essential, everyday tasks for the rest of society. She has worked as the first and only official artist-in-residence for the New York City Department of Sanitation since 1977, where her projects have included Touch Sanitation (1978-1984) and Flow City (1983-1996) .

Not surprisingly, Ukeles has also played an important role in the Freshkills Park project, advocating for a public park on the site since 1989. She has produced several gallery installations on Freshkills and was a contributor to the Draft Master Plan for the park. Ukeles is currently designing a permanent nature viewing platform and two related earth works in South Park as part of the City’s Percent for Art program.

Find out more about maintenance art and Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s work in this video from the 2011 Creative Time Summit.

October 19, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Join us this Saturday July 28 for a LAGI Preview Event!

This Saturday, July 28, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) will be holding an exclusive sneak preview of the submissions to the 2012 LAGI NYC design competition for Freshkills Park. You’ll learn all about renewable energy technologies, land art and public art, and even design your own energy-generating public artwork.

The event will take place at 105 Water Street, Staten Island. 10am-5pm.

We hope to see you there!

July 27, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a comment

‘Treasure in the Trash’ – a Department of Sanitation work of art

For more than 20 years, Department of Sanitation New York City worker Nelson Molina has curated a collection…of trash. Call it a gallery, a collection, or a museum, Molina and other Sanitation workers have transformed an unused room in an Upper East Side sanitation facility, located on 99th Street between First and Second Avenues, into a showplace for found art in collected trash.

Though the sanitation workers are not permitted to keep anything from trash collection for personal use, this special scenario has been ok’d by the powers that be. The collection has become so well known that Sanitation workers from outside the neighborhood bring Molina items they deem ‘art’ or, at least, interesting, and Molina then decides if and how to display the pieces.

This is truly a great example of  ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’

The Department of Sanitation is a partner, along with the Department of Parks & Recreation, in the creation of 2,200-acre Freshkills Park, which is being built over the course of 30 years on NYC’s former landfill.

(via The New York Times)

July 24, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | 1 Comment

Free LAGI Event on Saturday, July 28

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) will be holding a FREE public event at 105 Water Street, Staten Island on Saturday, July 28th. Visitors will have a chance to preview the site-specific submissions to the 2012 LAGI NYC design competition, while also learning more about the interaction between renewable energy technologies, land art and public art. Attendees will get to take home a complementary copy of the LAGI publication, A Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies.  We’re excited to see all the submissions and hope to see you there!

July 17, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming this Fall to MCNY: “From Farm to City: Staten Island 1661-2012″

On September 15, 2012,  the Museum of the City of New York will inaugurate an exhibition entitled From Farm to City: Staten Island 1661-2012. Through the display of a treasure trove of maps, photographs and objects, the exhibit will explore Staten Island’s rich 351 year history and it’s transformation from a rural to urban landscape. A major portion of the show will be devoted to redevelopment of the Freshkills Park site from a landfill to a green city park. Stay tuned for the Museum’s special interactive website which promises to provide a wealth of exciting information pertaining to the various stages of Staten Island’s growth.

(via Museum of the City of New York)

June 22, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a comment

2012 LAGI design competition July 1st deadline approaching

‘Renewable energy can be beautiful.’ That is the tagline for the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI)  international design competition. The open LAGI competition calls for ideas to “design a site-specific public artwork that also functions as clean energy infrastructure for New York City.” This year the contest partners with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the site is within the 2,200 acre Freshkills Park on Staten Island. There is a $20,000 jury-awarded prize and a related $1,000 design prize for high school students. The competition opened January 1, 2012 and will close on July 1, 2012.

(via Land Art Generator Initiative)

June 18, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Freshkills Park 2012 Haiku Contest winners

It is time to announce the winners of our fourth annual Freshkills Park Haiku Contest! April was National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, we asked fans of Freshkills Park to submit a haiku inspired by the park.  We split the entries into two categories, Adult and Youth, and our judges selected three Adult winners and two Youth winners.

Adult winners:

In beholders’ eyes,
Beauty born from lesser things,
A park is risen.

-Nicholas Martini

A goose heading north
“Look what they’ve done to Freshkills”
Migration can wait

-Francis Doehner

Bleak, black land, turned green
Lost animals return home
Second chance for man

-Tom Donegan

Youth winners:

Which once was soiled
Now brings out nature’s light here
Orange, pink, and white

-Anisa Lett

Trashy to fancy
I can go horseback riding

-Kamy Kempton

Congratulations! Thanks to all who participated, and to our judges:

Cynthia Cruz is the author of Ruin (Alice James Books) and The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books). She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. Her poems have been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Boston Review, American Poetry Review, and Kenyon Review among other journals. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Nina Darnton has lived and worked in Nigeria, served as Publications Director for the Untied Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya, been special correspondent for Newsweek and National Public Radio in Warsaw, Poland during the rise of the Solidarity movement, and a feature writer for the New York Times in Madrid, Spain. Back in New York in the 80′s and 90′s, she was an Arts and Leisure writer and movie columnist for the New York Times, chief movie writer for the New York Post, staff writer and fashion critic for Newsweek, and an on-air essayist for the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour. She has written for many monthly magazines including More, Elle, Travel and Leisure and House and Gardens. Viking published her first novel, An African Affair, in 2011, which will be available in paperback this summer. She is currently working on a new novel.

Maya Rock is a writer and editor. She has two young adult novels forthcoming from Penguin Putnam and her journalism work has appeared in Marie Claire and the Writer magazine. She began literary agenting at Writers House in 2005; there she edited and sold nonfiction, pop culture, memoir, and young adult fiction. In 2010, she left Writers House to pursue a full-time freelance writing and editing career.

May 3, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , | Leave a comment


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