Tags: parks

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. 


Field Operations’ Race Street Pier now open

Last month, the City of Philadelphia celebrated the opening of Race Street Pier, a new waterfront public space designed by landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, who are also the designers of Freshkills Park and the High Line.


19 more NYC parks to have Wi-Fi

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.  Currently, 13 parks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens provide Wi-Fi; arrangements for access in the additional 19 parks will be made by the end of the summer.


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.

Another landfill-park coming, just across the Hudson

32.5 acres of Jersey City’s 87-acre PJP Landfill, situated on the Hackensack River, is slated to be transformed into Marion Greenway Park, a passive recreational space, over the next two years.  The former Superfund site received chemical and industrial waste as early as 1968, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection assumed stewardship of the site in 1985, extinguishing landfill fires, installing a landfill cap and a landfill gas venting system. 


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. 


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. 


Guidelines for sustainable NYC parks released

The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Fellows of the Design Trust for Public Space have prepared and released a manual called “High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC.”  It’s a comprehensive design and construction manual for sustainable parks and open spaces and will henceforth guide the design, construction and maintenance of New York City parks, in alignment with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030.


The Staten Island Greenbelt, unconcealed

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/17476706]

The PBS Thirteen series The City Concealed recently featured a segment on the Staten Island Greenbelt. This 2,800-acre continuous corridor of green space provides a host of natural recreational opportunities–including some of the best and most serene hiking in New York City–and acts as a refuge for native wildlife. 


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Monday, November 22nd

After a late summer hiatus, our Freshkills Park Talks lecture series resumes next Monday with a talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University.  CURE’s research and practice focuses on ‘ecological services’ provided by patches of native habitat in urban and other degraded areas, and how to ensure the sustainability of those services with relatively low maintenance costs.


Schmul Park breaks ground

Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe broke ground on the second project in the development of Freshkills Park, the $6.5 million renovation of Schmul Park.  (The 28-acre Owl Hollow Fields were the first project.)  An 8-acre park in the Travis neighborhood, Schmul Park will serve as a community gateway into the larger Freshkills Park. 


Field Operations tackle Seattle waterfront redesign

Landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, designers of the master plan and early projects for Freshkills Park as well as of the High Line, have garnered another high-profile commission: designing a new nine-acre park on Seattle’s waterfront. 


Sneak Peak: a spectacular day, in review

Sneak Peak was a huge success!  About 1800 people joined us at the Freshkills Park site on Sunday to make and fly kites, canoe in the creeks, walk the site with an expert, ride a pony, pet a goat, make a bag or a birdhouse, learn about composting and recycling and energy efficiency, receive a free bike helmet or fitting, enjoy the fun music, cool crafts and awesome food and generally celebrate the potential of this fascinating and amazing site. 


At Sneak Peak: First-ever public canoe tours!

New York City has seen a surge in recreational access to urban waterways over the last 15 years.  There are active canoeing and kayaking outings in the Hudson River, the Bronx River, Jamaica Bay, even Superfund sites like the Gowanus Canal and the Newtown Creek


At Sneak Peak: Free kites!

We’ve been eager to host a kite-flying event at the Freshkills Park site since the very beginning of this project.  The grassy, open landfill mounds soar above the surrounding landscape, not only making them high points with incredible views, but also providing access to some prime wind conditions. 


At Sneak Peak: Expert-led walking tours

One of the things we’ve learned over the course of this park project is that the Freshkills Park site has been a part of many, many people’s careers: Sanitation workers, engineers, equipment manufacturers, scientists, policymakers, designers, artists, philanthropists—we are constantly astonished to discover a new realm of expertise on this site with which we’re so familiar. 


At Sneak Peak: King of Falafel, 2010 Vendy Winner

This week we’re featuring some of the awesome offerings we’ll have on hand at this coming Sunday’s Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park.  First up: The King of Falafel & Shawarma, Fares “Freddy” Zeidais.  Freddy’s already high stock rose even more this past weekend, when he WON THE VENDY CUP at the 2010 Vendy Awards on Governor’s Island (the annual street vendor awards ceremony held by the Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center)! 


New York City, a paragon of ecological diversity

New York Magazine runs a great feature on the ecological diversity of New York City.  Not only does it recap the higher profile wildlife sightings throughout the City—coyotes on Manhattan’s west side, wild turkeys on Staten Island—but also makes larger points about the depth and rarity of many of the City’s ecological resources, not just in spite of urban development, but in some cases, because of it.


Preview Freshkills Park, Sunday, October 3rd

We’ve been hard at work putting together the first open, public event EVER at the Freshkills Park site, which will take place Sunday, October 3rd!  ‘Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park‘ will not only be a chance to see the site’s hills and wetlands in all their autumn glory, it will also be a hybrid kite festival/street fair/series of special site tours! 


Open House New York seeks volunteers

Open House New York, the weekend look inside what are normally closed doors of New York City’s architectural and design fascinatia, takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 9th and 10th this year.  Volunteers are needed.  Volunteers would assist with the weekend’s many programs, including tours, site-specific performances and discussions. 


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