Tags: Fresh Kills Landfill

A study in contrasts

More photos from our March photographers’ tour of the Freshkills Park site: Richard Levine has taken some beautiful shots not only this year (the first half of this slideshow), but also while the site was still open as a landfill, more than nine years ago (the second half).


Time gone by

Monday, March 22nd marked the nine year anniversary of the closure of Fresh Kills Landfill.  To reflect on that milestone, we pulled this timeline (PDF, 11MB) of the landfill’s operation from our archives.  It was put together for the catalogue of the exhibit called “Fresh Kills: Artists Respond to the Closure of the Staten Island Landfill,” mounted at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center‘s Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in 2001.


New York City maps, rectified

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has unveiled a beta version of their map rectifier tool, a feature that allows users to digitally align or “rectify” historical maps from the NYPL collection with today’s maps and aerial photos.  You can browse previously rectified maps or sign up for an account to align your own and add it to the browse-able archive. 


Fresh Kills, the sanitary landfill


An informative early-1980s video primer on the development of the contemporary sanitary landfill, with Fresh Kills as the prime example.  Some interesting footage of the landfill in operation.

Important note regarding the narrator’s concerns about the quality of drinking water in the vicinity of landfills: Staten Island’s water supply, like that of the rest of New York City, comes from upstate New York and not from the immediate environment. 


City as garbage as City

A design proposal that seemed almost inevitable: New York-based architects Terreform propose the employment of automated robots in reusing garbage sited within the Fresh Kills Landfill to construct buildings and islands.  The robots, refashioned from existing industrial equipment, would compact garbage into stackable units and be assembled like building blocks.


Garbage Problems

In 2002, a year after the Department of Sanitation and and the Municipal Arts Society announced the design competition for the reuse of the Fresh Kills landfill, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) embarked on an investigative project called Garbage Problems aimed at understanding the processes behind waste management in New York City. 


Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Freshkill”

UbuWeb, the large online archive of avant-garde art, has posted a streaming video of Gordon Matta-Clark‘s 1972 “Freshkill,” filmed at the Fresh Kills Landfill.  The short film depicts the destruction of the artist’s truck by a bulldozer.  The video is also available for download as an MP4.


Ghost of sanitation infrastructure past

A quiet and handsome set of photographs by Nathan Kensinger showcases the decommissioned Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station along Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal.  The station was closed along with the Fresh Kills Landfill in 2001 and is currently unoccupied.  Its rehabilitation has recently been put out to bid to private waste management companies for use in barge export of waste, in accordance with the city’s 2006 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan


Steven Handel on urban restoration ecology

For our Freshkills Park Talk two weeks back, Dr. Steven Handel shared insights into the emerging field of urban restoration ecology, which focuses on the challenge of bringing ecological diversity back to degraded lands like brownfields and landfills.  He discussed his research at the Freshkills Park site and others in the region and went on to describe how his expertise has informed the design of Orange County, CA’s Great Park.


How to Love a Landfill: June 20th at Freshkills Park

We get a lot of raised eyebrows when we first talk about the Freshkills Park Project with the uninitiated.  Some folks are put off by the idea of landfills in general, and some are familiar with the stigma the site has given Staten Island over the past half century.


The City Concealed

[vimeo vimeo.com/4854719]

The newest episode of PBS Thirteen’s online video series The City Concealed features Freshkills Park.  Park Administrator Eloise Hirsh gives a guided tour of the site and its history, punctuating the scenic drive with a look around the landscape of the future South Park and a view into the Department of Sanitation’s waste byproduct treatment facilities.


Photographers at Fresh Kills

On Saturday, we woke up REALLY early to take a group of professional photographers out on a tour of the Freshkills Park site and catch some prime morning light.  What we got was morning fog, at least for half the morning, but our pros still shot some interesting stuff. 


Robert Moses on Fresh Kills

Here’s great find from our archives: a November 1951 proposal for development at Fresh Kills issued under legendary Parks Commissioner Robert Moses.  The City of New York began filling in Fresh Kills in 1948, initially with the idea of depositing “clean fill” there for three years to make the land developable. 


Dennis Diggins on Fresh Kills Landfill operations

Thanks to everyone who came out to last Thursday’s talk on the history of operations at Fresh Kills.  Dennis Diggins’ fascinating and wide-ranging overview touched on the history of sanitary landfills and the city’s solid waste management system, the evolution of equipment used for transporting, compacting and containing waste, Dennis’ own personal anecdotes about working at Fresh Kills from 1991-2006 (including the sage advice: “Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets in a landfill,” because if you trip and fall your hands are the only things keeping you from falling head first into the trash) and the Department of Sanitation’s tremendous role in the clean-up and investigation of the World Trade Center attack in the days and months following 9/11.


Blog à blog: critique of the Freshkills Park design

Just found this on Where: a critical response to the Freshkills Park plan prompted by last November’s New York Magazine feature.  The thrust of the critique is that the Field Operations’ design of Freshkills Park will create a landscape that can be falsely “consumed without guilt:”

All the capping and veiling and the sealing tight are carried out not only to elude dealing with material run-off of the waste, but also to distract from what that waste means and implies and reflects (the architects and the city want to avoid any leaks, physical or moral).


Anniversaries and due credit

With the 8th anniversary of the closure of Fresh Kills Landfill coming up, the Staten Island Advance’s blog, The Staten Island Notebook, published this story reviewing the steps preceding the landfill’s closure.  The story singles out one man, former Fresh Kills crane operator John Leverock, as a possible progenitor of the idea to close Fresh Kills and to containerize and export the city’s waste, as the current Solid Waste Management Plan prescribes. 


Looking back, seeing art

In 2001 the Snug Harbor Cultural Center’s Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art launched an exhibition as a response to the closure of the Fresh Kills Landfill.  19 artists and artist-teams responded with “Fresh Kills: Artists Respond to the Closure of the Staten Island Landfill,” a collection of paintings, sculpture, photographs, videos and conceptual works, some of which are directly about Fresh Kills while others deal more generally about environmental issues.


Fresh Kills in graphic detail

Freshkills graphic

Popular Science has posted a thoughtful and informative graphic exposition of the Fresh Kills site.  There’s a lot of information to communicate when we’re talking about Freshkills Park, so we appreciate the effort to make it more comprehensible through the comic format.


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