Freshkills Park Blog

Marty Bellew on Fresh Kills and other NYC landfills

Tuesday night’s talk at the Arsenal by Marty Bellew was a terrific history of landfills in New York City, culminating with the story of Fresh Kills.  The context of other landfills really brought home the outsize scope of operations at Fresh Kills–no other site in the city even came close to the same acreage and garbage volume.  We could hardly believe that the West Mound, now just over 200 feet tall, was originally projected to max out just past 600! And we were amazed to hear about successful searches for lost valuables among the many tons of garbage.  A very entertaining and informative evening.  Our thanks go to Marty and to the crowd who braved the weather to hear him and to ask some good questions afterward.

Marty’s presentation is available for download here (PDF, 8MB). You can also stream the entire audio of the talk, below, or download it directly as an MP3 (56 minutes, 53MB).


December 2, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tomorrow, Nov. 29


The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues tomorrow evening, at the Arsenal in Central Park, with Martin Bellew, the man responsible for ensuring environmental compliance during the closure of the Fresh Kills Landfill. Mr. Bellew began working for the New York City Department of Sanitation in 1983 and worked his way up to oversee the closure of several of the city’s incinerators and landfills. He will discuss the engineering feats, environmental challenges and daily operations at Fresh Kills that he oversaw during a period that involved major shifts in landfill regulation and environmental policy.

Mr. Bellew now serves as Commissioner of the Department of Parks & Recreation for the City of Yonkers, New York, as well as Deputy Commissioner of Public Works.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 | 6:30-8pm
@ The Arsenal (in Central Park)
830 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

3rd Floor Gallery
FREE | No RSVP necessary

Directions to this location

November 28, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , | Leave a comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, June 14th

photo by Nathan Kensinger

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues next Tuesday with a presentation by elementary school science teacher Howard Warren.  Out of sheer interest and commitment, Howard has become one of the City’s leading experts on the history and present condition of Barren Island and Dead Horse Bay, at the southeastern corner of Brooklyn.  The area is well known by urban explorers for its ‘Bottle Beach’, where a 1950s landfill continues to spill its contents onto the shore to be combed over by amateur archeologists.  But the island and the bay’s storis stretch much farther into the past of industrial Brooklyn than just the 1950s, and its current state is the object of ongoing discussions on ecological health and restoration.  Howard has been bringing his students to study beach and the bay for over 20 years  and has  integrated its study in a variety of engaging environmental curricula, bringing students and their parents to the site to clean up the shore, collect fish for study, test the water chemistry and study artifacts.  He’ll discuss the site’s history and politics and share lessons learned through long-term, collaborative investigation of the site and its secrets.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 | 6:30-8pm
@ the Metropolitan Exchange
33 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn | 6th floor
FREE | No RSVP necessary

June 10, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Monday, May 9th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues as we celebrate the launch of the Oral History Projects in honor of Freshkills Park and the New York City Department of Sanitation, Monday, May 9th, at New York University.

For the past five months, a team of historians focusing on the New York City Department of Sanitation and on Freshkills Park have interviewed citizens, engineers, government officials and Sanitation workers about the labors of waste and about New York City’s most ambitious park project in 150 years. Their reflections provide insights in understanding key parts of the city’s infrastructure, past and present, that have never been recognized as essential to the region’s history—until now.

This evening marks the debut of the first set of audio interviews collected through this effort. Join us to celebrate the founding of the Sanitation and Freshkills Park Oral History Projects, to meet the narrators and interviewers who have pioneered its start, and to learn about the project’s future.

The event is presented jointly by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, the NYC Department of Sanitation, New York University and Columbia University.

Monday, May 9th @ 7 pm
19 University Place
Auditorium
FREE | No RSVP necessary

April 26, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , | 1 Comment

Michael Marrella on NYC waterfront planning

Our thanks to Michael Marrella and the crowd who attended his lecture last week at the Metropolitan Exchange as part of our  Freshkills Park Talks series.  After starting with a brief history of the New York City’s harbors and waterways, Michael walked the audience through the process of preparing Vision 2020, the update to New York City’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan.  His overview included the process of assessing of the state of the waterfront and the challenges faced.  He concluded with a glimpse of the City’s plans for the next ten years and beyond, to be officially presented to the public in the coming weeks.

No audio from this talk, but the slideshow is available for download as a PDF (3.45 MB).

February 22, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, February 15th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues in Downtown Brooklyn tomorrow, Tuesday, February 15th, with Michael Marrella, Project Director of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for the New York City Department of City Planning.

Michael will be discussing Vision 2020, an update to the New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that sets the new long-range vision for the City’s waterfront and waterways.  Vision 2020 moves beyond the shoreline and into the water itself by establishing policies for water-borne transportation, recreation, education and improving water quality, while addressing challenges of global warming and sea level rise.  Michael will discuss how the planning process for Vision 2020 has helped identify key opportunities for improving our waterfront and prescribe strategies to realize this vision.

Tuesday, February 15th @ 6:30pm
The Metropolitan Exchange
33 Flatbush Avenue, 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY
FREE | No RSVP necessary

February 14, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , | Leave a comment

Dana Gumb on sustainable stormwater management

Our thanks to this month’s speaker in our Freshkills Park Talks series, Dana Gumb, as well as to everyone who came out to see his talk at the Arsenal last week.  Dana explained a host of innovative approaches, implemented by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection within the Staten Island Bluebelt and other outer borough watersheds, to capture and treat stormwater as a way of restoring native habitats, beautifying neighborhoods, preventing floods and mitigating the environmental impacts of sewage overflow.

The Bluebelt corridor is one of the largest attempts by any municipality in the US to manage stormwater in this ecologically sound and cost effective way.  Dana’s talk articulated not only the need for bluebelts and the methodology for constructing them, but also the value—functional and aesthetic—they confer to local communities.  If you weren’t able to make the lecture, his slideshow is available for download as a PDF (19MB).

January 31, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , | 1 Comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, January 25th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues at the Arsenal on Tuesday, January 25th, with a talk by Dana Gumb, Director of the Staten Island Bluebelt at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  Dana will be talking about sustainable and ecologically sound approaches urban stormwater management, through the lens of the Bluebelt, one of the most ambitious stormwater management efforts in the northeastern United States.

Stormwater management has become something of an unlikely hot topic in the past several years, thanks in part to PlaNYC 2030-based policy and design initiatives, as well as growing concern about climate change, street flooding and sewage outflow into waterways.  The Bluebelt is an award-winning program that retains and treats stormwater runoff for approximately one third of Staten Island’s 58 square-mile land area while preserving ecological systems and saving millions of dollars in infrastructure costs.  Urban Omnibus ran a great in-depth interview and feature on the project last month.  Dana will discuss lessons learned from the Bluebelt, how they are currently being applied to other DEP projects in Queens and the Bronx, and what they mean for the future of the City.

January 25th, 6:30 pm
The Arsenal, 830 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
3rd floor gallery
FREE | No RSVP necessary

January 21, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | 1 Comment

Robin Nagle on the City’s relationship to Sanitation

Thanks to the huge crowd that came out to Robin Nagle’s talk in our lecture series two weeks back.  Standing in front of a fascinating slideshow featuring many of the men and women who keep New York City clean (or–more than that–keep New York City alive, as artist Mierle Ukeles famously phrased it), Robin discussed her academic approach to Sanitation, the stigma we attach to the work San Men and Women do and some hypotheses as to how those stigmas develop and why they stick.  It was a passionate and heartfelt address about the value of Sanitation workers that also included some explanation of the mechanics of Sanitation vehicles and the skills required to operate them.  Thanks go to Robin, most of all, for volunteering her insights to the appreciative crowd.

You can stream the entire audio of the talk, below, or download it directly as an MP3 (74 minutes, 68MB).


December 21, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Steven Handel on urban ecological restoration

We’re playing catch-up recapping some of our recent events.  Last month’s talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University, was an informative and engaging overview of Dr. Handel’s work, including a discussion of ‘ecological services’ and why urban ecology is so important.  Dr. Handel also elaborated on his research on seed dispersal and tree growth at Fresh Kills and his ecological design work on Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Orange County Great Park.  Big thanks go both to him and to the appreciative crowd who turned out to hear him and engage in some thoughtful Q&A afterward.

You can stream the entire audio of the talk, below, or download it directly as an MP3 (53 minutes, 48MB).


December 20, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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