On September 29th, Freshkills Park opened its gates to the public for the fourth annual Sneak Peak event and attracted 3,500 people, a steady increase from previous years.
They came on bikes, on ferries, and in cars; with family, with friends. A girl from Brooklyn says, “This is a strange place. It does not feel like we are in the city at all.” Indeed, the tall yellow grass, the rolling hills, and the hawks in the sky seemed like neither the city nor the previous landfill site.
In the central area, a miniature horse pulled kids around for five minute rides. The goats that helped eat the site’s invasive phragmites, bleated at passerby. Families lounged on wooden-crates, as Staten Island artists transformed the stone bridge with spray paint. In the distance, a giant rock wall supported climbers of all ages; kayakers took boats into the river.
For a quieter experience, people trekked to the Overlook, a high point where they could see the Manhattan skyline. Or, on a steeper path, they climbed to the top of North Mound and flew Freshkills Park kites.
Art, nature, food and clear skies: we couldn’t have asked for a better day! Now, to start planning for next year’s Sneak Peak… In any case, stay posted on Freshkills Park happenings, and if you missed Sneak Peak this year, there’s always next year. Park tours are also available from April to November:
Schmul Park was officially opened yesterday. This reconstructed neighborhood park is the first portion of Freshkills Park to open to the public. The reconstructed Schmul Park now features a colorful playground, new handball and basketball courts, a grass lawn, and a modern comfort station. The park design incorporated many sustainable elements including low maintenance landscaping with native plant species, reduced energy and water consumption in the comfort station, and stormwater best management practices, including permeable pavements and a rain garden. Schmul Park will serve as the neighborhood entrance to Freshkills Park for the Travis community.
This past weekend, Freshkills Park hosted two lively sets of visitors. On Saturday, Pack 118 of the Staten Island Boys of Scouts of America, explored the South and North Mounds of the park. This curious group of young Staten Islanders learned about the myriad of wildlife and plant species that make their home at Freshkills Park, as well as the history of the landfill and master plan. Many thanks to the pack members who have also visited Freshkills Park previously to take good care of some of the trees planted on site as part of the Million Trees NYC program.
Sunday was a glorious day for taking in Freshkills Park from the water. An intrepid group of 20 kayakers from Staten Island were led by the Freshkills Park team and volunteers from Kayak Staten Island, and paddled along the Main Creek. It was prime time for birdwatching as the kayakers saw an osprey dive for fish right next to the boats! Blue Herons and Egrets dotted the shoreline, as terns and gulls flew overhead joining the paddlers in enjoying the beautiful scenery along the Fresh Kill waterways and wetland.
Tours of Freshkills Park are free and open to the public by appointment only. If you would like to schedule a group tour please contact Michael Callery at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for more exciting public tour announcements and news on our annual preview event Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park which will take place on Sunday, September 23.
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.
In this election year, talk of the economy and jobs is pervasive. Parks aren’t typically cited by politicians as “job creators,” but it turns out, they are. Parks & Recreation jobs number 9 million in the U.S., and the Parks & Rec field has the potential to create up to 14 million jobs for many different education levels.
In addition to health benefits and job creation, park administrators and advocates are increasingly making the case that parks equal higher real estate values; that world-class cities must have world-class parks. Self-sustainability – diversified funding sources beyond city coffers – was a theme at this year’s International Urban Parks Conference.
(via The Dirt)
The 2012 International Urban Parks Conference is around the corner! From July 14th-17th, park professionals, politicians and urban park advocates from around the world will attend “Greater & Greener: Reimagining Parks for 21st Century Cities,” held in New York City. The conference is presented by City Parks Alliance.
Freshkills Park will be a featured tour on July 14th from 2-5pm, along with tours throughout to other innovative New York City Department of Parks & Recreation parks. On July 15th & 16th, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) will be anonymously premiering the submissions to the 2012 LAGI design competition for a site within Freshkills Park.