Freshkills Park Blog

Composting Toilets in New York City

Prospect Park is building a composting toilet and putting to use an obsolete building. The Pump House, an unused building tucked away in the center of the park, is not connected to the New York City sewer system so traditional restrooms are not possible but with park use on the rise more restroom facilities are needed, especially in this more remote area of the park.

The toilets will not look or smell unusual, the noticeable difference is that special foam is used to flush.  Christian Zimmerman, lead landscape architect at the Prospect Park Alliance, expects that the composted waste will be removed every five years and taken to a landfill, although he hopes that the laws prohibiting the use of this manure within the city will change in the near future.  By utilizing composting technology the park is able to provide an amenity where it was needed most while also helping the city reduce the volume of sewage sent to the treatment plants.

The number of composting toilets is on the rise in New York City; The Bronx Zoo, the Queens Botanical Garden, and the Hollenback Community Garden in Brooklyn are already using composting technology.

A composting toilet facility is in the plans at Freshkills Park which is one part of an array of sustainable practices used in the parks’ development.

Rendering of New Prospect Park Restroom Facility

Rendering of New Prospect Park Restroom Facility
Photos: NYC PARKS DEPARTMENT

May 1, 2013 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dallas’ newest park to be perched atop a highway

After the success of The Highline in New York, it seems that every city is now attempting to transform abandoned or underused public spaces into lush urban parks. Treehugger has reported on the recent developments in unusually located parks, the latest being the Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas. The 5.2 park, which is set to open this fall, is currently being constructed over a busy highway. The park itself will be built upon a deck-like structure, providing the surrounding neighborhood, and the city at large, with much needed public recreation spaces, including a pedestrian promenade, gardens, restaurants and performance pavilions.

While Klyde Warren Park represents Dallas’ admirable commitment to the revitalization and creation of urban green space, Treehugger duly notes that an even more enivronmentally and innovative friendly plan would have been if the city of Dallas had opted to convert the entire highway into a park, as they have done in Seoul, Korea.

August 14, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a comment

What if the Olympics had come to Staten Island?

The proposed Staten Island Olympic Cycling Center on the site of Freshkills Park

If you, like us, are currently immersed in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, it is fascinating to imagine if the games were instead taking place in our own backyard… More specifically at Freshkills Park!

As WNYC has reminded us, during New York City’s bid for the Olympics back in 2005, Staten Island and Freshkills Park were featured as a prominent site for large scale sporting events. The park itself would have hosted the Staten Island Olympic Cycling Center where the BMX and Mountain biking events would have taken place. While the rest of the borough was set to become home to the Greenbelt Equestrian Center, Fort Wadsworth Road Cycling Course Cycling and Richmond Olympic Softball Stadium. Thankfully both horseback riding and biking will eventually be offered on the island as part of the Freshkills Park master plan.

Despite losing out to London, New York City has still gone forward with several Olympics’ related infrastructure and venue plans. For instance, the proposed gymnastics arena, has been built instead as the Brooklyn Nets Stadium at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. WNYC has also produced a fascinating interactive feature which depicts all the proposed Olympic sites throughout the rest of the city.

August 2, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reservoir conversions protect water supply, create parks

The City of Seattle is implementing an innovative program to protect their reservoir water supply and create 76 acres of new open space. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has already replaced five open reservoirs with underground structures – a system that both improves water quality and provides better security for the water supply – and an additional project is in the works. Seattle Parks & Recreation (Parks) is working to eventually transform the new open space into “full-fledged parks.”

As part of the program, SPU covers the new underground reservoir structures with a layer of drain rock, soil, grass and other low maintenance plants so the community can use the additional open space immediately. Parks will then work with the community to create master plans for the parks, which will move forward when funding becomes available. The total costs for converting the Beacon, Myrtle, Maple Leaf and West Seattle Reservoirs is estimated by SPU at $150 million. A portion of the funding comes from the 2000 ProParks Levy.

(via Seattle Public Utilities)

July 18, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , | 1 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

City outlines strategy to protect and create wetlands

Mayor Bloomberg and several City of New York agencies recently released The Wetland Strategy report, which outlines plans to protect and improve city waterways. The report contains strategies to address goals in PlaNYC 2030. Among the 12 initiatives are plans to:

  • invest $48 million in projects that restore and enhance nearly 127 acres of wetlands and neighboring areas,
  • add 75 acres of wetland to the New York City Parks system,
  • create the natural areas conservancy to encourage a public-private partnership for wetlands management,
  • create a wetlands mitigation banking or in-lieu fee mechanism for public projects.

Freshkills Park, featured on the report’s cover and throughout the document, contains approximately 360 acres of wetlands and is about to begin a 2 acre wetland restoration pilot project in North Park.

(via City of New York)

June 5, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How building subways helps build our parks

2nd Ave Tunnel

As work on Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway line progresses, those viewing the massively scaled operation may wonder, “where does all the excavated dirt and rock go?” In the past, the ‘muck’ from expanding subway lines and other construction projects has contributed to the building of Ellis Island, Governors Island and Battery Park City, among other city landmarks – including the expansion of the Manhattan shoreline. Crushed rock from the 7 train extension was used in the construction of Owl Hollow Fields at Freshkills Park on Staten Island and material from the Second Avenue line is being used in the construction of the Ferry Point Golf Course in the Bronx. Material from the Long Island Railroad expansion under the East River was used in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Additional waste is processed and sold for construction and landscaping by private companies.

(via City Atlas)

May 25, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bioswales and green infrastructure for New York

The future of green infrastructure within the New York metropolitan region just got brighter: NY State and City officials announced this week that over $2 billion in public and private investments would be committed to ecologically-sound techniques for the management of stormwater runoff and sewage overflow. Techniques to be implemented include densely-planted green roofs, porous pavement surfaces, and vegetated bioswales, all of which will collect rain water and redirect it from overtaxed combined sewer systems. Billions of gallons of sewage overflows are discharged into New York’s waterways each year during periods of even light rain, a result of antiquated municipal engineering known as combined sewage overflows.

An inter-agency initiative to design and implement bioretention swales – in other words, vegetated tree pits – is currently being run by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, and our own Parks Department. The division plans to construct over 100 plots across the city’s sidewalks, medians, and outfalls by the end of the year. Several pilot bioswale plots have already been planted throughout the city, including several near the Gowanus Canal.

Bioswales and other green infrastructure strategies, in their merging of economic and environmental benefits, represent a significant commitment to the adaptive management of cities responding to a future of climate change-induced challenges.

(via Capital New York)

March 15, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | 1 Comment

LAGI Field Guide to Renewable Energy Techonologies


The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) team recently announced the release of their Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, a free resource they hope will prove useful to “all designers, homeowners, urban planners, students, artists, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and anyone else interested in a clean energy future”.

The 70-page document provides dozens of renewable energy generation technologies within major categories such as solar, wind, water and biomass. This first edition defines each system and provides its conversion efficiency when applicable; a second edition will include pros and cons, lifecycle carbon costs, and more detailed diagrams of the technologies.

The guide should come in handy for those working on the 2012 LAGI design competition, which of course is being held for a site within Freshkills Park.

February 14, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small landfill, big ideas

Focus Forward, a new series of short films about forward-thinking innovators, brings us The Landfill, directed by Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit.

The film is a brief profile of the small but highly efficient Delaware County Landfill in Upstate New York, which is using a system of composting, recycling, and landfill gas (LFG) capture not unlike the one used at Fresh Kills two decades ago. The all-in-one facility is able to divert 70% of its material through recycling and composting, and converts its LFG to electricity through incineration, producing enough to power 300-400 homes.

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

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