Freshkills Park Blog

Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Maintenance Art at Freshkills Park

If you’ve been to Sneak Peak, perhaps you’ve noticed your own reflection in the side of a Department of Sanitation garbage truck.

This 20 cubic-yard garbage truck faced with hand-tempered mirror is The Social Mirror by artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles. The Social Mirror debuted in the grand finale of the first NYC Art Parade in 1983 and was most recently exhibited at the 2007 Armory Show. According to Ukeles, “This project allowed citizens to see themselves linked with the handlers of their waste.”

Since publishing Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969!, Ukeles’s work has revolved around the role of the artist and our relationship to maintenance and service work, and most importantly the workers who perform these essential, everyday tasks for the rest of society. She has worked as the first and only official artist-in-residence for the New York City Department of Sanitation since 1977, where her projects have included Touch Sanitation (1978-1984) and Flow City (1983-1996) .

Not surprisingly, Ukeles has also played an important role in the Freshkills Park project, advocating for a public park on the site since 1989. She has produced several gallery installations on Freshkills and was a contributor to the Draft Master Plan for the park. Ukeles is currently designing a permanent nature viewing platform and two related earth works in South Park as part of the City’s Percent for Art program.

Find out more about maintenance art and Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s work in this video from the 2011 Creative Time Summit.

October 19, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Treasure in the Trash’ – a Department of Sanitation work of art

For more than 20 years, Department of Sanitation New York City worker Nelson Molina has curated a collection…of trash. Call it a gallery, a collection, or a museum, Molina and other Sanitation workers have transformed an unused room in an Upper East Side sanitation facility, located on 99th Street between First and Second Avenues, into a showplace for found art in collected trash.

Though the sanitation workers are not permitted to keep anything from trash collection for personal use, this special scenario has been ok’d by the powers that be. The collection has become so well known that Sanitation workers from outside the neighborhood bring Molina items they deem ‘art’ or, at least, interesting, and Molina then decides if and how to display the pieces.

This is truly a great example of  ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’

The Department of Sanitation is a partner, along with the Department of Parks & Recreation, in the creation of 2,200-acre Freshkills Park, which is being built over the course of 30 years on NYC’s former landfill.

(via The New York Times)

July 24, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | 1 Comment

NYC ‘Recycling Champions Program’ for public schools – apply by June 15!

GrowNYC, in partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation and NYC Department of Education, is currently accepting applications New York City public schools for their 2012-2013 Recycling Champions Program. The program “aims to empower schools to comply with, and exceed, NYC’s recycling laws, and in the process students create school wide projects and campaigns, and learn environmental leadership skills.” Additionally, the Recycling Champions Program program seeks to advance NYC Department of Education Sustainability Initiative’s goal is to double the recycling rate at NYC public schools to 20% by 2013.

Apply by June 15th, 2012!

(via GrowNYC)

June 4, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , | Leave a comment

Methane generates revenue at Freshkills Park

Methane gas produced from decomposing waste at Fresh Kills landfill is generating revenue for the City of New York of up to $12 million each year as the site is developed into a 2,200-acre park.

With the help of advanced landfill gas collection infrastructure throughout the landfill, the New York City Department of Sanitation is actively harvesting methane, through rigorous state and federal public health and safety guidelines, from the decomposing waste buried at Fresh Kills landfill. This methane, enough to heat approximately 22,000 homes, is sold to National Grid and the city generates approximately $12 million in annual revenue from the sale of that gas. Gas recovery and sale will continue until the amount of gas produced by the landfill is minimal enough as to no longer be economically viable, at which point it will be burned off at flare stations onsite.

With the objective of minimizing energy consumption within new buildings and infrastructure systems at Freshkills Park, the Department of Parks & Recreation is also exploring the use of emerging energy technologies to supply as much of the park’s energy as possible.

May 24, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NYC loves textile recycling

In June of last year we made note of a promising new partnership between the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Housing Works focused on collecting, reusing and recycling unwanted clothing, linens, shoes and clean rags. Less than a year after introducing the program, supporters have pronounced it a grand success. At a City Council hearing on Friday, DSNY officials reported that over 50 tons of textiles were donated in the first six months of the program. That amount is expected to rise to more than 300 tons for the second half of the first year once the high demand for donation bins are met.

The goal of the program, called re-FashionNYC, is to capture as much as possible of the 200,000 tons of textiles New Yorkers throw away each year, reducing the city’s garbage disposal costs and diverting a very large chunk of solid waste from landfills. While about 130 buildings are now taking part, DSNY is still processing requests and more than 1,000 inquiries. To participate, landlords, building managers or superintendents must sign up online and assign a staff member to monitor the bin in order to schedule pickups.

(via NYTimes Green Blog)

February 22, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , | 4 Comments

City of Systems: Waste Removal

A recent video on Urban Omnibus, featuring Garbage Land and Bottlemania author Elizabeth Royte, offers a glimpse behind the complex process of everyday garbage collection in New York City. Combining interview, animated graphics, and often poetic archival and present-day footage, the video tells a succinct story of one citizen’s look into the past, present, and possible future of municipal solid waste management. It’s a refreshing first-person perspective on a universal element of daily life for city dwellers.

The video is one of four in their City of Systems series, a suite of videos taking a behind the scenes look at some of the complex systems that enable New York City to function.

January 26, 2012 Posted by | FKP | , , , | 4 Comments

Tour Freshkills Park with an expert this Sunday

Over the course of the various stages of its history, a wide range of professionals have spent time working on or thinking about the Freshkills Park site: sanitation workers, engineers, equipment manufacturers, scientists, policymakers, architects, designers, artists, philanthropists. There are countless layers of expertise to mine in understanding the site.  Sneak Peak will offer glimpses into five particular domains through a series of guided walking tours led by experts with varying insights into the history and operation of the site.

Walking tours will scale the North Mound at Freshkills Park (the eponymous ‘peak’) and will last about 45 minutes each.  Guests are also welcome to walk unescorted on the three miles of path throughout the duration of the event.  The walking tour schedule for the day is:

guided by Patrick Nugent, PhD candidate, American Studies, George Washington University

guided by Joe Berg, Senior Ecologist, Biohabitats, Inc.

guided by Tatiana Choulika, Associate Partner, James Corner Field Operations

guided by Robin Geller, Program Manager for End Use Development, Waste Management Engineering, NYC Department of Sanitation

guided by Michael Marrella, AICP, Director, Waterfront & Open Space Planning, NYC Department of City Planning

September 30, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New NYC initiative targets textile recycling

re-fashioNYC  is a new, free program sponsored by the Department of Sanitation and Housing Works and focused on collecting, reusing and recylcing unwanted clothing, linens, shoes and clean rags.   Program goals include:

  • reducing the 200,000 tons of textile and apparel waste each year;
  • contributing to PlaNYC 2030‘s goal of diverting 75% of solid waste from landfills;
  • boosting the small fraction of textile recycling by American consumers.

Upon request, re-fashioNYC will place a large metal donation bin in the lobby of a residential building for residents to deposit their unwanted textiles, then schedule pickups.   The program is projected to pay for itself through the sale of approximately 90% of donations at Housing Works stores (the other 10% is expected to be landfilled).  To participate, landlords, building managers or superintendents must sign up online and assign a staff member to monitor the bin in order to schedule pickups.

(via The New York Times Green Blog)

June 17, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , | 3 Comments

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
FREE | No RSVP necessary

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

Celebrating ten years since landfill closure

David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability, addresses the assembled guests at yesterday's event. Photo by Irving Silverstein via the Staten Island Advance.

Yesterday, March 22nd, 2011, marked the ten year anniversary of the last barge of garbage delivered to the Fresh Kills Landfill.  To mark the occasion and to celebrate ten years of reclamation and preparation for park development, the NYC Department of Sanitation and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation jointly hosted a small celebration at the Freshkills Park site. As part of the festivities, a barge of young trees was delivered to the site to symbolically renew the City of New York’s commitment to a more responsible and environmentally sensitive approach to the stewardship and identity of the site.  A group of special guests were ferried into the site on a New York Water Taxi, the first passenger vessel ever to dock at Fresh Kills!  Remarks were offered by David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability; Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro; Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and City Council Member Vincent Ignizio.  A tree planting ceremony followed.  NY1 and the Staten Island Advance ran video coverage; the Advance also ran a nice gallery of images from the morning.

March 23, 2011 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment


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