Freshkills Park Blog

Summer 2019 Internships

Internships

The Freshkills Park Team is looking for a Development Intern, Climate Change Research Intern, Public Art Intern, and Education Intern to join the staff at the project’s lower Manhattan headquarters this summer. These four part-time positions will involve site visits and provide opportunities to collaboratively contribute to ongoing park planning and project implementation.

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The Last Barge to Fresh Kills Landfill

Last Barge

This month marks the anniversary of the Fresh Kills Landfill closing in 2001. The last barge of household garbage arrived 53 years after landfill operations began. Over the years, Fresh Kills had steadily become New York City’s primary landfill. The closure on March 22 signaled a major change in the city’s waste management plan.

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Panel Explores Nature Within the Built Environment

Green Roof

This month, Freshkills Park’s Cait Field and Mariel Villeré presented the panel, “Urban Ecosystem Services: Scales of Cultivation” at the Nature, Ecology & Society Colloquium at the CUNY Graduate Center, with speakers Annie Weinmayr, Jessica Hoch, and Melissa Zavala. The panel explored variations on the definition of “nature” within the built environment and how expanding that definition can shape new strategies for enhancing ecosystem services in our cities.

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Announcing the Capturing Change Photography Contest Winners

Capturing Change Sean Sweeney

We are excited to announce the winners of the first annual Capturing Change Photography Contest! Dozens of photographers submitted more than 100 photographs, and contest judge Natalie Conn was impressed by the variety and complexity of the images. Conn reviewed the photographs anonymously and evaluated them based on creativity, composition, content, and artistic merit.

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Freshkills Park Named 2019 Rubin Foundation Art and Social Justice Grantee

Lize Mogel

Freshkills Park’s ongoing Field R/D project has been named one of fifty-seven awardees of the Rubin Foundation’s grants as part of their Art and Social Justice Initiative. Three artists have been selected to participate in the second cohort to co-develop research-based projects in the visual, performing, and media-based arts.

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Family-Friendly Nature Walks

Family Nature Walk

This spring, families can lace up their shoes and join staff for nature walks at Freshkills Park! These walks will take participants behind the scenes to visit areas that are currently closed to the public. On these one-mile walks, visitors will observe and learn about the plants and wildlife found in the woods, wetlands, and grasslands.

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Wetland Restoration at Freshkills Park

Wetland Restoration

The Fresh Kills site was once a network of waterways with acres of tidal wetlands. When the Fresh Kills Landfill opened in 1948, people did not realize the ecological value of this habitat. Now NYC Parks is transforming the former landfill into Freshkills Park.

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Fresh Kills Landfill Closed in 2001, but Large Landfills Still Loom

Fresh Kills Landfill

Before closing almost two decades ago, Fresh Kills Landfill was known as the largest landfill in the world. During peak operations in the 1980s, Fresh Kills received as much as 29,000 tons of trash per day. By 1991 it was the last remaining landfill in New York City, accepting household trash from all five boroughs.

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Call for Submissions: Capturing Change Photography Contest

Photo Contest

If you photographed Freshkills Park in 2018, you’re invited to submit your work to the first annual Capturing Change Photography Contest. We’re looking for photographs that illustrate Freshkills Park’s unique engineered landscape from all angles. Submissions will be accepted from January 3, 2019 to February 14, 2019, with winners announced in early March.

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As Birds Face Threats from Climate Change, Freshkills Park Could Be a Refuge

Climate Change

Dr. Richard Veit first saw grasshopper sparrows nesting at Freshkills Park in 2015. This was a surprising discovery for Veit, a College of Staten Island researcher who has been studying the site’s grassland bird populations for decades. According to the Breeding Bird Survey, grasshopper sparrow populations have declined by 97% in New York State.

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Read “Reorientation,” the Urban Wild Writer Essay

Urban Wild Essay

This summer, the inaugural Urban Omnibus writer in residence, Dani Alexander, had the opportunity to roam the future Freshkills Park’s four mounds. By foot and by car, under beating sun and pouring rain, Alexander explored the urban wilds of Staten Island, where highways meet gas wells, herons, and kayakers.

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Counter-Cartography at Freshkills Park with Lize Mogel

Lize Mogel

On November 18, Field R/D artist Lize Mogel led two bus tours of the park project. The tours expanded and resituated the typical park tour by offering an artist/ “counter-cartographer’s” perspective. Joined by guides Dr. Cait Field, the Freshkills Park Manager for Science and Research Development, and Mariel Villere, Manager for Programs, Arts and Grants and co-organizer of Field R/D, Lize’s tour explored the landfill-to-park project within a longer trajectory of a changing urban environment.

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Interview with Field R/D Co-Curator Dylan Gauthier

Field RD

Dylan Gauthier co-curates Freshkills Park’s Field R/D residency program with Manager for Programs, Arts, and Grants Mariel Villeré. For the past decade or so, Gauthier has been making environmental work around water, including his collective Mare Liberum and What Wilderness, focused on the EPA Superfund designated Newtown Creek.

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Your Gift Makes More Park Visits Possible

Your Gift Makes More Park Visits Possible

This year almost 1,000 visitors explored Freshkills Park by bicycle. They rode the four mile loop road around East Park, saw the beautiful grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands, and experienced a Montana-like sky in New York City. Thanks to supporters like you, the Freshkills Park Alliance provides free bikes during events so that everyone has access to these unique opportunities.

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Background Noise Study Results

Grassland Sound Study

This summer Freshkills Park staff and interns partnered with the NYC Parks Wildlife Unit to evaluate differences in ambient noise levels between two areas of the park. To track the noise levels, sound recorders were placed at corresponding locations on North and East Mounds.

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Sound the Mound: A Collaborative Artistic Experience

Parsons Arable Sound the Mound

In a collaborative effort, Freshkills Park, Parsons School of Design, and Arable Labs are collecting environmental data at the landfill-to-park project and interpreting that information for artistic pursuits and public education. The transdisciplinary “Sound the Mound” project uses remote sensing and GIS technologies developed by Arable Labs to create a sonic engagement that provides both land and data readings such as rainfall, microclimate, and sunlight within the evolving ecology of Freshkills Park.

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From Brookfield Landfill to Brookfield Park

Brookfield Park

Freshkills Park is the world’s largest landfill-to-park project, but landfills all over the world have transformed into parkland. In fact, several examples can be found in New York City. Battery Park in Manhattan was built on landfill material, and the site of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens was once a landfill described as a “valley of ashes” in The Great Gatsby by F.

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Water Monitoring Continues with Consistent Results

Water Monitoring

For the past two years, NYC Parks staff have partnered with the College of Staten Island (CSI) and the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) to monitor the water quality within Freshkills Park and study the health of the waterways. This year’s results were consistent with data from last year, which shows great progress in the remediation and restoration of the park.

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See “Windows into Freshkills Park” at NYPL Branches

Windows into Freshkills Park

Windows into Freshkills Park is now on display at two New York Public Library branches! The miniature museum is spread across Staten Island, with two interactive dioramas at the St. George branch and two at the Great Kills branch. The four boxes illustrate Freshkills Park’s environmental history, technologies, wildlife, and evolution as a new public space.

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Dani Alexander Reflects on the Urban Wild Writer Residency

Dani Alexander - Urban Wild

Earlier this year, Dani Alexander was selected as the winner of the Urban Wild Writer Residency. The residency is a collaboration between Urban Omnibus and Freshkills Park that seeks to bring a firsthand perspective to topics like the environment, technology, urban life, nature, and waste.

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