Tags: history

Landfilled ship uncovered at Trade Center site

The New York Times City Room Blog reports that Tuesday morning, workers excavating the site of part of the rebuilt World Trade Center came upon something unexpected in the muck 20 feet below street level: a 30-foot truncated section of an 18th century wood-hulled ship. 


Ask the Sanitation Anthropologist

NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Anthropologist-in-Residence Robin Nagle will be responding to readers’ questions about her work studying the DSNY and the City’s garbage systems this week on the New York Times’ City Room Blog.  Dr. Nagle is a long-time friend and partner of the Freshkills Park project.


From the archives: restoration ecology at Fresh Kills

We just dug up this great story from the New York Times in 2000 that features the work of Rutgers restoration ecologist Steven Handel at the Freshkills Park site.  Dr. Handel and his students had completed a 16-acre study at the old landfill in the New Jersey Meadowlands when they entered into agreement with the NYC Department of Sanitation to study the rehabilitation of native ecology at the not-yet-closed Fresh Kills Landfill. 


Connie Fishman on Hudson River Park

Thanks to Connie Fishman and all who attended her talk in our Freshkills Park Talks series two weeks back.  It was an entertaining and educational look at the history and development of Hudson River Park, including a look at the never-realized Westway project and its legacy in the civic discourse about the park. 


Redefining recreation: Floyd Bennett Field

Urban Omnibus runs a feature on Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, a former civilian and military airport on the Jamaica Bay coast that became parkland in 1971.  The story’s contributing writer, a landscape architect, suggests that the site’s post-urban/natural hybrid landscape prefigured contemporary aesthetics in post-industrial redevelopment, and the range of activities it hosts help to reposition the idea of recreation, making the park a model for other sites in the City.


NYC’s water infrastructure explored

The Center for Urban Pedagogy‘s (CUP) playful and informative 2006 video The Water Underground is now available in full online at Places.  The 24-minute piece examines and explores New York City’s water supply, treatment and waste infrastructure, its history and prevailing controversies—the students interviewed engineers, plant superintendents, construction workers, marine biologists, urban divers, educators, and environmental justice advocates. 


A weekend for New York City trashies

The “Fast Trash” exhibit is a gift that keeps on giving: two excellent organizations are holding awesome-sounding garbage-focused events at Gallery RIVAA on Roosevelt Island this weekend, piggybacking on the last week of “Fast Trash”‘s run.  On Saturday, May 15th, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) will screen two documentaries on New York City waste disposal: the rare and intriguing-sounding 1979 documentary Collection and Disposal, a Job for the Birds, and CUP’s own 2002 Garbage Problems.


Exhibit on the last ten years of NYC development

The Architectural League of New York has just mounted an exhibit called ‘The City We Imagined/The City We Made: New New York 2001-2010‘ about architecture, planning, and development in New York City since 2001.

This installment chronicles the transformation the physical city in light of the convergence of an array of powerful forces: the events of 9/11, the policies and priorities of the Bloomberg Administration, the volatility of global and local economies, advances in material and construction technologies, and a new interest among the public in contemporary architecture.


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


Current landscape and waterfront exhibits

A couple of exciting exhibitions and projects featuring the built and natural environments are currently underway at the MoMA and P.S.1.  The MoMA exhibition, “In Situ: Architecture and Landscape”, opened last April and will be running through February 22nd. 


The Unnatural History of Salt Marshes

A lecture on the biology of salt marshes, tonight at the Arsenal.

Natural habitats and ecosystems are delicate things, and in this lecture, you’ll learn the natural history of salt marshes and their plants and animals, along with the “unnatural history” of how humans have altered and damaged them physically, chemically, and biologically.


Greenbelt Native Plant Center, yesterday and today

The Parks Department’s Greenbelt Native Plant Center (GNPC), on Victory Boulevard on Staten Island, sits on the site of what was once the Mollenhoff Family Farm.  From 1911 to 1992, the Molenhoffs operated a 32-acre vegetable farm that was well-renowned among small growers for its innovations in farming methods, including a mechanical watering system and steam-heated greenhouses.


Gotham and its Garbage, tomorrow

NYU’s Robin Nagle, Anthropologist-in-Residence of the NYC Department of Sanitation, will be giving a talk tomorrow evening called Gotham and its Garbage: What it Was, What it Is and What It Might Become, at the Bloomingdale Library on the Upper West Side and sponsored by the Park West Neighborhood History Group. 


Wrestling with Moses

This Friday, journalist and land policy expert Anthony Flint will be discussing and signing his new book, Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City at the Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island. 


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.


On Manahatta

Landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson talks at TED about the Manahatta Project:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z1cCT2NP4k&w=507&h=370]


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