Freshkills Park Blog

Highlights from the June 30th Open Hours Event

Beautiful sunny weather and clear blue skies provided the perfect conditions to welcome visitors to Freshkills Park on June 30 for the first ever Open Hours. As construction continues in North Park Phase One, this event allowed hundreds of visitors the chance to see the rolling hills and diverse wildlife of Freshkills for themselves before the park can officially open.

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Freshkills Park hosts Grasslands-themed dinner and discussion

On June 25, Freshkills Park staff and local Staten Island residents came together at the Greenbelt Nature Center to participate in the first ever “Grasslands Dinner.” The evening centered on the history of grasslands in the United States, the biodiversity of plants and animals associated with these habitats, and how Freshkills Park is helping to bring grassland back to New York City.

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North Park Construction Continues with Foundations for Signature Structures

North Park Construction

NYC Parks broke ground on the North Park project in 2017 and the construction continues. When complete, pathways and observation areas will invite visitors to walk, hike and bike in the first open section of Freshkills Park inside the landfill boundary.

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Environmental Science Intern: Galen Oettel

Galen Oettel

Galen Oettel is an Environmental Science Intern for Freshkills Park. Born and raised in New York City, he’s currently a rising junior at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Galen is majoring in Environmental Science and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

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“Capturing Change” Photographs On View at Studio + Gallery

Capturing Change Photography Exhibition

Capturing Change: Freshkills Park Photographs

On view June 15 – September 8, 2019

For years, photographers have been visiting closed sections of Freshkills Park to document the unique combination of nature and infrastructure. Their work explores the variety of changes taking place as habitats are established and the park is built in phases over decades.

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Your Guide to the Open Hours Event on June 30

Open Hours June 30

On Sunday June 30th, you can bike, run, walk, or birdwatch in normally closed areas of Freshkills Park! Open Hours will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with over six miles of roadways and trails providing access to views of wildlife, wetland creeks, and engineered meadows.

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Fastnet Offers Drawing Workshops Inside a Shipping Container

Fastnet

This year, artists are leading drawing workshops inside a shipping container at Freshkills Park. Fastnet was purchased by artist James Powers in 2015. Since then, it has been used as a gallery, sauna, and gathering space. At Freshkills Park, Fastnet is fitted with drawing horses for free observational drawing workshops, available for the general public!

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Battery Project Encourages Reusing and Recycling

Arihunt and Avni Garg

In 2016, Arihunt and Avni Garg participated in a tour of Freshkills Park and learned about waste management in New York City. “Although the Sanitation and Parks Departments were working very hard, it seemed to be an uphill battle to keep our city clean,” said Avni, a freshman at Stuyvesant High School.

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Grassland Research Continues for Fourth Year

Grassland Research

This spring, staff and interns will continue studying the grasslands at Freshkills Park. The research project is working to characterize the structure and diversity of the grasslands on two of the capped landfill mounds. Large populations of grassland birds have been nesting at East Mound, but not North Mound.

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Visiting Freshkills Park this Spring and Summer

We’re excited to announce this year’s spring and summer calendar of public programs at Freshkills Park! These free tours and events offer unique opportunities to visit and learn about the landfill-to-park project. Whether kayaking through the creeks or hiking and bicycling along miles of meadows, you’ll experience large sections of the park before they open.

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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 municipal solid waste arrived on March 22, 2001, 53 years after landfill operations began. Over the years, Fresh Kills had steadily become New York City’s primary landfill.

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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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