Tags: recreation

Scientific proof that your brain loves a walk in the park

Emotional responses to walk patterns

The Atlantic Cities recently reported on a fascinating psychology study being conducted at the University of Michigan, which proves just how much the brain can benefit from even brief interactions with nature, especially in contrast to an urban context.


Wetland restoration on former landfill (with a little help from goats!)

Goats at Freshkills Park for conservation grazing

With the support of a New York State Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant, the Department of Parks & Recreation is undertaking restoration of two acres of wetland habitat along Main Creek within Freshkills Park that will include goat grazing as a method of invasive plant control.


Sign up for the July Kayak Tour before it fills up!

Join us on Sunday, July 8, as members of the Freshkills Park team, with assistance from Kayak Staten Island and generous support of the Downtown Boathouse, guide you through the creeks of Freshkills Park via kayak.

The tour will last two hours and is free of charge.


New Section of Staten Island Bike Path to Open in August

Come August,  Staten Island is set to become an even more bike-friendly borough. The Parks Department is in the process of completing a two-mile bike path that will connect the neighborhoods of Great Kills and New Dorp, both of which lie on the other side of Latourette Park from Freshkills Park.


How building subways helps build our parks

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.


Earth Day Million Trees Stewardship Event

On April 21st, during Earth Day weekend, Freshkills Park hosted our very first volunteer project! Staten Island Boy Scout Packs 5 and 118 (and their parents) tended to the Million Trees planting area in the South Park section of the site.


City parks – just the facts

Boston Common, the oldest urban park of any major city in the nation

The Trust for Public Land recently published its annual report on urban parkland in the United States. The 2011 City Park Facts lists information for the 100 largest U.S.


At Sneak Peak: free kayak tours of Freshkills Park

The most in-demand activity at last year’s Sneak Peak, by far, was the chance to paddle a canoe around the Freshkills Park site.  This year we began a public kayak tour program at the site and will open up our capacity significantly at this year’s Sneak Peak, this Sunday, October 2nd.


Success! Our first public kayak tours

Sunday’s two public kayak tours were a rousing success.  Following up on the highly in-demand free paddle in Fresh Kills Creek during last October’s Sneak Peak, these were the first public boating tours we’ve held at the Freshkills Park site. 


Floyd Bennett Field to become major urban campsite

Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, a former civilian and military airport on the Jamaica Bay coast, is now poised to become New York City’s largest campground. The site was taken over by the National Park Service (NPS) in 1971 after being decommissioned for aircraft, and as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area has since played host to a variety of activities: organized sports, model and full-scale airplane hobbyism, motorcycle practice and Brooklyn’s largest community garden. 


19 more NYC parks to have Wi-Fi

photo by rthakrar via flickr

After facing challenges finding a private wireless provider, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation has signed a five-year contract with AT&T to provide free wireless internet access in 19 new park locations throughout all five New York City boroughs. 


Reflections on active urban design

The Dirt runs a great interview with Joyce Lee, Director of the Active Design Program at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC).  DDC’s Active Design Guidelines, released last year, is a manual produced for architects and urban designers with the aim of designing buildings, streets and urban spaces that best promote health and activity. 


Schoolyards becoming community recreation spaces

City Parks Blog runs an excerpt of Peter Harnik‘s Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities on schoolyard parks, spaces reserved for schoolchildren during school hours and used by the whole community at other times.  Examples cited include:

  • The Boston Schoolyard Initiative, through which about $320,000 buys a each schoolyard a new drainage system, plantings, hard surface area, play equipment, fences, decorative art, and mini-landscapes for environmental education;
  • Denver’s slightly larger Learning Landscapes, which include a field, play structures, a hard-surface court and aesthetic upgrades for about $450,000;
  • Houston’s Spark (School Park Program), which spends between $75,000 and $100,000 per site to provide modular play equipment, picnic tables, benches, outdoor classrooms, gardens, trails, native plantings, murals and mosaics.

Urban Bikeway Design Guide released

From a section of NACTO's Design Guide about Bufferred Bike Lanes.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has released its Urban Bikeway Design guide, a very thorough and valuable desk reference for planners, engineers and bicycle advocates considering improvements to urban bicycle infrastructure. 


Dutch-themed plaza fronting ferry terminal now open

On our trips through the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan over the past two weeks, we’ve been happy to pass through the recently completed Peter Minuit Plaza.  The 1.3-acre plaza fronts the ferry terminal and serves as a nexus of transportation modes and public space at the tip of the island: ferry, subways, buses, bikeways, benches and outdoor tables and chairs are all present here. 


Graphic interventions on the “Wall of Sormano”

The incredibly steep slope of northern Italy’s Muro di Sormano (“Wall of Sormano”, a mountain road perceived as a “wall” by many determined cyclists) was a part of the course for the Giro di Lombardia from 1960-62, and is considered to be one of the most difficult cycling tracks in the world.


Tomorrow! New Springville Greenway Open House

The Freshkills Park development team at the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation is in the process of designing a 3.2-mile off-road bicycle and pedestrian path running north-south along the eastern edge of the future Freshkills Park site.  We are hosting an open house tomorrow, Saturday May 14th, to talk about the project and to answer questions about it. 


NYC’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan released

Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden present the Vision 2020 plan.

On Monday, the City of New York released Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. The document will guide waterfront planning  in the City over the next decade. 


Adriaan Geuze talks Governors Island Park design

Design Observer runs an interview with Adriaan Geuze, principal of landscape architecture firm West 8, on its approach to designing Governors Island Park.  He discusses the master plan for the park and how it accentuates the island’s natural attributes, location, and views, and how topography plays a pivotal role in the vision. 


Danish waste-to-energy plant will feature ski slope

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international competition to design a new waste-to-energy plant for Copenhagen, Denmark.  BIG’s winning entry—which will actually be built and will replace the existing Amagerforbraending plant—improbably caps the huge new facility with a public ski slope. 


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