Freshkills Park Blog

Field Operations on the Design of South Park

Tatiana Choulika—Project Design Manager at James Corner Field Operations for our upcoming project in the southern portion of the Freshkills Park site—gave a great presentation on that design two weeks back at the Arsenal.  Our thanks go to her and to the large crowd that came out to learn about South Park.  We’re very excited about this section of the park and FO’s design for it, which responds to a variety of expressed local and regional needs and desires while carrying through the principles set out by the 2006 Freshkills Park Draft Master Plan.

Tatiana’s slideshow is available for download as a PDF (5MB).  You can stream the entire audio of the talk, below, as you page through the slides, or download it directly as an MP3 (30 minutes, 28MB).

June 8, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Wednesday, May 26th

Quick on the heels of our terrific if rainy lecture this past Tuesday, we’re thrilled to host another lecture in our Freshkills Park Talks series this upcoming Wednesday evening, May 26th—this time at the Arsenal, on Central Park.  We’ll be joined by Tatiana Choulika, Senior Associate at landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, who will be presenting and discussing the design for the first phase of the Southern quadrant of Freshkills Park.  This area of the site hosts some of the most beautiful overlooks and variations of landscape of anywhere onsite, and the design that FO has developed for it is really dynamic and exciting, meeting a host of community-expressed priorities as well as accommodating some of the particular challenges of developing on a former landfill site.

This first phase comprises 20 acres of the full 425 acre-buildout of this quadrant of the park, and it has been designed as a connected series of overlooks, meadows and recreational facilities including walking and biking paths, softball fields, play areas and event spaces. It will also be the first project allowing public access to the top of one of the site’s mounds, with expansive views of Staten Island and beyond.  We’re excited about this project and hope you’ll join us to learn more about it and FO’s process in designing it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | 6:30-8pm
The Arsenal, Central Park, 3rd floor gallery
830 Fifth Ave, Manhattan

May 21, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, May 18th

This coming Tuesday, we’re happy to have photographer Nathan Kensinger joining us for a Staten-Island-centered follow-up to his March talk and slideshow on New York’s post-industrial waterfront.   Nathan will be presenting photos from around Staten Island, including an abandoned chewing gum factory, a partially demolished color works, rotting train stations, empty hospitals and boat graveyards. His work has been described in the Staten Island Advance as documenting “places that even the forgotten have forgotten.”

This talk will be co-hosted by the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island.  Should be a fun one.

Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. @ Cargo Cafe
120 Bay Street, Staten Island (a short walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal)
FREE| No RSVP necessary

May 14, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment

That “Staten Island Boat Graveyard”

Gothamist discovers the Witte Marine Salvage Yard, one of the largest marine scrapyards on the East Coast, along the shore of the Arthur Kill just south of the Freshkills Park site’s West Mound.  It’s a pretty spectacular and much photographed sight to see these rusted heaps—mostly tugboats and cargo ships—half sunken in the Arthur Kill, and the various plant and marine life that has made its home there.  The Times provided some history on the yard back in 1990, and we’ve included it as an attraction in our Staten Island day-trips for folks visiting the Island to join one of our Freshkills Park tours.  This is just one more site that really validates the whole ‘Forgotten Borough’ moniker, in the most compelling way.

If photos of industrial decay excite you, you might be interested to know that photographer Nathan Kensinger will be sharing his photos and stories of this site and others the evening of Tuesday, May 18th at Staten Island’s Cargo Cafe, as part of our Freshkills Park Talks series.

May 4, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, March 30th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues on Tuesday with a talk and slideshow by  Nathan Kensinger, a photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on the abandoned and post-industrial edges of New York City.  He’ll be sharing stories of sites along the Gowanus Canal, inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and at Fresh Kills, among others, while walking us through his beautiful images. Nathan’s photos have been featured in the New York Times, the New York Post, New York Magazine, The Staten Island Advance, and other outlets and are currently on display as part of an exhibit titled “The Gentrification of Brooklyn” at Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts.

The talk will be co-hosted by the Metropolitan Exchange, an architecture, urban planning and research cooperative in downtown Brooklyn.

Tuesday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. @ the Metropolitan Exchange
33 Flatbush Avenue, 6th floor, Brooklyn
No RSVP is necessary

March 26, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John McLaughlin on Penn and Fountain Landfills

John McLaughlin gave a rich and informative talk Tuesday night at the Metropolitan Exchange, discussing the development of his ecological design for the Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue Landfills along Brooklyn’s Jamaica Bay coast.  Our thanks to the many folks who came out to hear John talk about his work, and, of course, to John himself.

Much of the discussion focused on the takeaway lessons of ecological restoration on landfills.  Among them:

  • trees roots did not penetrate the landfill cap but spread laterally;
  • when you need to make use of an enormous volume of soil, it’s cheapest to generate that soil yourself–in Penn and Fountain’s case, by mixing compost with sand;
  • careful attention to soil composition, and to its variation for different plant communities, is critical; so is contractor familiarity with restoration practices.

Urban Omnibus has also posted a brief recap of the talk.  A PDF of the full presentation is available here.  No audio from this talk, but if you’re interested in hearing John speak about the project, WNYC recorded this interview with him in 2007.

January 29, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, January 26th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues on Tuesday with John McLaughlin, Director of Ecological Services for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  John designed and oversees the ecological reclamation of the Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue landfills, sited along Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn.  Together, the two landfills, which operated from the late 1950s and early 1960s through the early 1980s, comprise 400 acres and contain millions of tons of waste–primarily residential waste and construction and demolition debris.  As with other landfills in the City and elsewhere, there grew concern about the impact of the landfill on adjoining populations and ecosystems.   After a commitment from the City to address these concerns, ecological rehabilitation began in 2004, under John’s managment.  The sites will ultimately be opened to public access as natural areas.

The rehabilitation work has been a massive and fascinating undertaking–it was featured in The New York Times in September.  John will discuss the history of the two landfill sites, the development of their reclamation plans and the lessons learned from the project.  The talk will be co-hosted by the Metropolitan Exchange, an architecture, urban planning and research cooperative in downtown Brooklyn.

Tuesday, January 26, 6:30 p.m. @ the Metropolitan Exchange
33 Flatbush Avenue, 6th floor, Brooklyn

January 22, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eli Cohen on sustainability and phytoremediation

Eli Cohen gave a terrific talk Monday night on his work, as director of Ayala Water and Ecology, using plants to remove pollutants and contaminants from water, soil and air.  We’re grateful to the huge crowd that poured into the Arsenal gallery for the event, to Laura Starr and Yamit Perez for putting us in touch with Eli and, of course, to Eli himself for sharing his work and his thoughts.

One of his bigger themes, telegraphed by the title of the talk, “Sustainability in Practice,” was his strong belief that “Natural Biological Systems”– systems constructed of plants, soil, rocks and other natural materials and supported by forces like gravity and sunlight–are not only just as effective as more expensive, technological solutions to environmental remediation, but also, literally, much more sustainable.  He walked through a number of Ayala’s Natural Biological Systems, which filtered and cleaned runoff and sewage from a variety of sites including private residences, a dairy farm, a landfill, a cosmetics plant and an entire city (Hyderabad, India).  His full slideshow is available as a PDF (6MB).

handelslide2You can stream the entire audio of the talk, below, as you page through the slides.  You can also download that audio directly as an MP3 (71 minutes, 66MB).

December 9, 2009 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Freshkills Park Talk: Monday, December 7th

Part of the Natural Biological System designed by Ayala Water and Ecology for the Hiriya landfill site at Park Ariel Sharon in Tel-Aviv.

We’re excited to restart our Freshkills Park lecture series, Freshkills Park Talks, this coming Monday, December 7th.  Eli Cohen of Israel’s Ayala Water & Ecology will be speaking about his work designing naturally-based solutions to help remove contaminants from soil, air, and bodies of water and to rebuild ecosystems’ capacity for self-sustainability.  Mr. Cohen has consulted on stream rehabilitation projects, gray water reuse systems, and numerous constructed wetland systems to remove heavy metals, salts, hydrocarbons and pathogens from agricultural, industrial, and landfill sites.

Key within this work has been his involvement in the remediation of the Hiriya landfill in Tel-Aviv, formerly Israel’s largest landfill and soon to become part of Park Ariel Sharon, a 2000-acre park that shares a number of parallels with Freshkills Park. Mr. Cohen will present a variety of innovative projects implemented in Israel and around the world, with emphasis on urban solutions.

December 7th, 6:30-8pm at The Arsenal, 3rd floor Gallery
64th Street and 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
FREE.  No RSVP necessary.

December 2, 2009 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | 1 Comment

Steven Handel on urban restoration ecology

For our Freshkills Park Talk two weeks back, Dr. Steven Handel shared insights into the emerging field of urban restoration ecology, which focuses on the challenge of bringing ecological diversity back to degraded lands like brownfields and landfills.  He discussed his research at the Freshkills Park site and others in the region and went on to describe how his expertise has informed the design of Orange County, CA’s Great Park.

Much of his discussion centered around concepts of ecological sustainability.  Some key takeaways: At a site as large as Freshkills Park, it would be costly and unsustainable to plant and maintain the type of landscape found in a more traditional park landscape like Central Park.  Dr. Handel emphasized the bang-for-buck of planting small, pioneer clusters of trees and shrubs that could attract bees and birds, which act as pollinators and seed spreaders.  He also detailed the value of mosaic plant populations, in which some species can thrive while others shrink in response to evolving conditions.  In the face of climate change, this adaptability, he said, would be essential for park resilience over time.

The talk covered much more.  We’re grateful to Dr. Handel and to the big crowd that came out to hear him speak.  Below are a few audio highlights.  Each is 3 to 5 minutes long.

handelslide3Clip 1: The  “ecological services” and other benefits provided by green, sustainable landscapes.

handelslide2Clip 2: On Dr. Handel’s soil restoration work in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

handelslide1Clip 3: The importance of pollinators and the challenge of aligning engineering goals with ecological goals.

July 13, 2009 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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