National Poetry Month is coming to a close. For the second year in a row, we’ve invited people to share ideas, impressions, experiences, and thoughts of Freshkills Park 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. Here is one of our winners from last year:
a park in my mind
landfill scarred islanders’ hearts
reclaimed, restored land
Submitted entries will be judged by three terrific poets: Melissa Broder, Nancy Hechinger and Donna Masini. Online glory and limited edition Freshkills Park hats will be awarded to winning entries. We’ve had some great submissions so far, and we welcome more in the remaining few days of April. To enter, email your haiku, along with your name and age to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 30th, at 5 pm.
More photos from our March photographers’ tour of the Freshkills Park site: Richard Levine has taken some beautiful shots not only this year (the first half of this slideshow), but also while the site was still open as a landfill, more than nine years ago (the second half).
Last month’s professional photographers’ tour of the Freshkills Park site yielded some beautiful results. We’ve posted a selection of photos by Linda Jaquez, Vincent Verdi and Michael Bonanno in our flickr stream; photographs by Jarred Sutton are posted on his website.
We’ll be hosting a Staten Island-centered talk and slideshow by Nathan Kensinger, another photographer who has joined us on a photographers’ tour (and who gave our March Freshkills Park Talk in downtown Brooklyn), on Tuesday, May 18th at 6:30pm at Cargo Cafe on Staten Island, near the Ferry Terminal. Nathan will be talking about and showing his terrific photos of forgotten Staten Island sites and buildings, from chewing gum factories to color works to the Freshkills Park site, itself.
Our next tour for professional photographers is in June. If you’re a professional photographer interested in participating, feel free to be in touch.
If you’re not a biologist or a wildlife hobbyist, it can be hard to understand what the big deal is about birds, bats and other creatures at the Freshkills Park site—why are our birding tours always booked months in advance? Why so much concern—huge sections of environmental review documents, regulatory review on issues of habitat fragmentation—for the welfare of populations of small animals, when the site is so big?
A new Smithsonian study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences helps to address these questions by offering a role played by animals in the middle of the food pyramid—insect-eating birds, bats and lizards, specifically: protecting and encouraging the growth of grasslands and forests. The study, drawing from more than 100 studies of insect predation by birds, bats or lizards from four continents, found that by eating herbivores and their insect predators, birds, bats and lizards reduced damage to plants by 40 percent, which resulted in a 14 percent increase in plant biomass.
Grassland habitat, which is abundant at the Freshkills Park site, is in rare supply in the New York City area. These middle-pyramid animal species will play an important role in encouraging park development through the establishment of new woodland and the restoration of native grassland.
We’re very excited to present our most recent phase of design work, in South Park, tonight at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island. The Freshkills Park development team and park designers from James Corner Field Operations will be there to virtually guide the gathered crowd the first phase of South Park, which will host softball fields, hiking and biking paths, play areas, a parking lot and flexible event spaces. This phase will also be the first project allowing public access to the top of one of the mounds—the smaller of the two mounds in South Park—with its amazing views of Staten Island and the larger region. It’s a really dynamic and interesting design that’s responded to a host of needs and requests from the local communities and still holds strong to the ideals of the 2006 Freshkills Park Draft Master Plan. Hope you can come and check it out tonight!
Wednesday, April 7th, 7-9pm
at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island
Joan & Alan Bernikow Building
1466 Manor Road, Staten Island NY
Last Sunday’s bird-watching tour at the Freshkills Park site was eventful. Not only did we catch a glimpse of a snow goose fishing around the storm water basin on East Mound, we also noticed this osprey sitting in a nest atop the tall perch in Main Creek. This is the same nest that housed a family of osprey last year–our public tours witnessed the laying, hatching and fledging of two osprey chicks between May and August. (We also featured osprey in our winter newsletter.) We only spotted one adult in the nest on Sunday, but we were happy to welcome him and hope he’s the ambassador of a continued osprey presence onsite.
Our next bird-watching tour will be May 23rd. Registration for that tour will be open in mid-April. Add yourself to our newsgroup to be alerted–these tours fill up quickly!
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
Currently on view at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor in Staten Island is Hope-A-Holic, a group exhibition of 21 artists exploring Utopian ideas in contemporary work. The show features installation, drawing, painting, video, performance and interactive works.
The Freshkills Park team will take part in a program in conjunction with Hope-A-Holic called Trash to Treasure, this Tuesday, February 23rd at 6pm. Trash to Treasure will feature a presentation about the Freshkills Park project, including a history of the site, details about the park’s master plan and our current projects and programs. This presentation will be followed by a workshop given by the Staten Island Compost Project outlining the simple steps involved in composting at home.
Trash to Treasure
Tuesday, February 23rd, 6pm
FREE | to RSVP, please email email@example.com or call (718) 425-3557.
Hope-A-Holic will run until April 4th. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students and free for kids 12 and under.
Architecture and urbanism blog mammoth has compiled its review of the best architecture of the past decade. It’s a refreshing list because of its inclusion of projects that stretch outside of what is typically considered ‘architecture’–the Large Hadron Collider, Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment System, the MIT Media Lab’s City Car, the iPhone.
[T]he items on this list have been selected to represent some of the most hopeful trends which impinge upon the territory of architecture (and, occasionally, landscape architecture, as the constant and intentional conflation of the two disciplines which is a mammoth trademark continues). You’ll discover that our criticism of boring lists consists primarily in their being confined to (a) buildings and (b) things built by architects, though our list includes both buildings and things built by architects. In fact, “favorite” might be a better way to describe this list than “best”, but we’ve stuck with “best” because it’s more fun, as you can’t argue about “favorites”.
Field Operations‘ design of Freshkills Park also ranks within the list.
This past Sunday’s birdwatching tour at the Freshkills Park site is featured in today’s New York Times (and also on the City Room blog, where you can read and post comments). The sky was overcast and hazy, but we still spotted a dozen or more red-tailed hawks and several northern harriers in addition to meadowlarks, buffleheads, hooded mergansers and great black backed gulls. We’ve been operating these four-season tours in conjunction with the Staten Island Museum for the last year; our next birdwatching tour is at the end of March, just before the April relaunch of the general public tour season. If you’re not already on our e-mail newsgroup list, you can sign up to receive biweekly updates on upcoming public programs and RSVP-only opportunities, including the next birdwatching tour.