Freshkills Park Blog

New Fresh Perspectives newsletter is out

The Spring/Summer issue of the Freshkills Park newsletter, Fresh Perspectives, is up on the official Parks homepage for Freshkills Park.  In this issue are a review of the past year’s expanded tour programs at the Freshkills Park site and a profile of the Department of Sanitation’s compost facility, located just beside the former landfill, in addition to the cover story, which offers a history of the Fresh Kills area before landfilling began in 1948 and an annotated map of historic activities onsite.

We put this newsletter out every six months and distribute hard copies to various parks and cultural institutions throughout the City, in addition to handing them out on our public bus tours of the Freshkills Park site.  Digital archives of past newsletters are available on the homepage, under the ‘More Information’ tab.

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May 10, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gov Island art installation wants your garbage

Marketing and design agency MSLK is mounting a large-scale installation called Take-Less using hundreds of take-out containers as part of the Figment art festival on Governor’s Island in June.  Latching onto the statistic that 2629 take-out meals are consumed in the United States every second, the group plans to assemble a large collection of disposable, take-out plasticware into the number 2629 atop a grassy area, reflecting on our constant incidental production of plastic waste.  Anyone is invited to contribute their used take-out plasticware or containers to the project—just contact MSLK to participate.  Not to reward waste production, let us add that it’s even better if you produce little to nothing that could be contributed to the project, by creating no take-out waste.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , | Leave a comment

Book talk on salt marshes, tomorrow

Tomorrow evening, Dr. Judith S. Weis, Professor of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University will be talking about and signing copies of her book Salt Marshes: A Natural and Unnatural History at the Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island.  The book is first a history of American salt marshes, their ecological functions, gradual destruction and several profiles of contemporary restoration projects.  Should be a rich and interesting talk.

Special attention is given in the book to the New Jersey Meadowlands and the “250 years of development, drainage, diking, filling, garbage dumping, and sewage pumping” that happened there; the Freshkills Park site met a similar fate.  Once primarily salt marsh, hundreds of acres have been filled and denied their ecological function.  But considerable marshland still remains onsite, and we are currently developing restoration plans for it.

Friday, May 7th, 2010 @ 7 pm
The Greenbelt Nature Center
700 Rockland Avenue
Staten Island, NY
Suggested donation: $5
Light refreshments served

May 6, 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

Panel tonight on art, architecture and site design

Tonight at the Center for Architecture, a panel discussion called Is it Architecture?  The Structure in Landscape.

Recent collaborations between architects, artists and landscape architects have begun to blur the boundaries between architecture, art and site. What does it mean to intervene in the environment with these projects? What differentiates or unifies spatial form, sculpture and landscape?

Panelists are Alice Aycock, Sculptor; Signe Nielsen, FASLA, Principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture; Dennis Oppenheim, Installation Artist; Christopher Sharples, AIA, Principal, SHoP Architects.

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 | 5:30-8pm
@ The Center for Architecture
536 Laguardia Place, New York, NY

Free for AIA members; $10 for non-members

May 3, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Newtown Creek Visitor Center opens tomorrow

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection‘s Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is already home of some of the most distinctive architecture in the City, the onion-dome digesters designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, as well as a lovely and serene Nature Walk designed by artist George Trakas.  Not bad for a sewage plant along one the country’s most polluted waterways!  And now the facility is adding another jewel to its crown: a Visitor Center, also designed by Polshek and featuring an indoor-outdoor fountain designed by artist Vito Acconci, is opening tomorrow.  This will be the first visitor center for a public infrastructure facility in New York City.  It’s exciting, and the exhibits should be very educational, given the scope of the operation—the plant treats more than 250 million gallons of wastewater daily.

After this weekend, the Center will be open Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4pm.

Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25, 2010
Noon-4pm
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
329 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn

April 23, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | 1 Comment

Exhibit on Roosevelt Island garbage system opens

Garbage on Roosevelt Island—the 147-acre strip of land lying in the East River between Manhattan and Queens—is disposed of through a remarkable system of underground pneumatic tubes that was constructed in 1975.  The Island’s 14,000 residents empty their trash into a series of garbage chutes which are emptied into the pneumatic pipes several times daily, carrying it at 30 miles per hour to a transfer station at the end of the island. There it is compacted by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), sealed into containers, and loaded on a truck for private export to a landfill outside the city.  This Automatic Vacuum Collections System (AVAC) collects and exports more than ten tons of waste daily.

A month-long exhibit on the AVAC, its history and its value as a model for future waste management operations opens today at Gallery RIVAA on the Island, with an opening reception this evening.  The show, called “Fast Trash,” has been curated by architect Juliette Spertus and the design firm Project Projects (which also designed the signage and visual identity of Freshkills Park).  “Fast Trash” includes explanatory diagrams, video interviews with DSNY engineers who maintain the system, and a selection of  drawings produced through a collaboration between the Center for Urban Pedagogy and students from the Child School, exploring what garbage collection might look like in a future without roads.  The show will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1960 master plan developed for the Island by architects John Burgee and Philip Johnson.  A related panel discussion at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service called “Comparative Garbage Collection Strategy and Urban Planning” will take place on May 6th.

FAST TRASH: Roosevelt Island’s Pneumatic Tubes and the Future of Cities
April 22–May 23, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 22, 6–9pm
Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

April 22, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A site viewed through many lenses

Photo by Jarred Sutton.

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.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome back, feathered friends

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!

April 1, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a 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