2018 Annual Report

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and The Freshkills Park Alliance

Photo: Jo Cavallo

This picture tells you so much about Freshkills Park – it’s big, it’s beautiful, and its future is wide open. We are literally paving the way as we head into 2019. Construction is in full swing on North Park and South Park design is on schedule. In this past year, as we made progress on building the Park, we also found new ways to meet the public and share the opportunities of the Park outside of the site itself. We refurbished the house on Richmond Avenue into the Freshkills Park Studio + Gallery, with space for art exhibits and education workshops. Three exhibits have already been mounted there with more to come. The multimedia dioramas that compose “Windows onto Freshkills Park” found homes in Staten Island NYPL branch libraries. A collaboration with the Architectural League of New York led to an exhibition of Capturing Change photographs that was first mounted in Manhattan and will travel to other spaces in New York City. We organized and sponsored the well-attended regional “Reclaimed Lands” conference that welcomed scientists, teachers, artists, and students to three days of tours and discussions.

Our onsite education and tour programs, art program, scientific research projects, and appearances at community events let thousands of people experience the Park, in direct and indirect ways. This is all part of our mission – to make the Park real to the public, to demonstrate that it is truly an asset already. We are grateful to everyone who has had the adventure of being at the Park, kids who have been part of school field trips, cyclists who have used the Greenway, teams that have used the Owl Hollow fields, and visitors to exhibits and workshops. This report shares information about this year’s activities and I hope you enjoy reading it. Your enthusiasm is the real building block for this great public place. Thank you!

Eloise Hirsh Freshkills Park Administrator and Alliance President

Photo: Michael Anton, DSNY

About the Park

About the Alliance

At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years. Formerly the world’s largest landfill, this enormous park will one day hold a variety of public spaces and facilities, including playgrounds, athletic fields, kayak launches, multi-purpose trails, large-scale art installations, and much more.

The Freshkills Park Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working with NYC Parks to transform the former Fresh Kills Landfill into a thriving 21st century park.

2018 Annual Report

As Freshkills Park gradually opens in phases, the Alliance sponsors opportunities for the public to connect to the landfill-to-park project through on-site research, art, education, and recreation opportunities. The Alliance also supports lectures, installations, and programs that 2

The Freshkills Park Annual Report is dedicated to Allan Weissglass (1935-2019), founding member of the Freshkills Park Alliance and former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. Allan was essential getting the Alliance off the ground, and he was generous with his wisdom and humor. We will miss his good counsel and friendship.

Alliance Board Members Paul Ainslie

Joanne Witty

Victoria Cerullo

Allan Weissglass Emeritus

Dr. William J. Fritz Nancy Hechinger Eloise Hirsh Ken Iwama Jim Perazzo, P.G. Brendan Sexton

Edward Burke Ex officio Joshua Laird Ex officio Lynda Ricciardone Ex officio

The Alliance is supported by NYC Parks Staff Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP Borough Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone Freshkills Park Development Team

invite people to connect to Freshkills Park in public spaces throughout the Greater New York City area.

Freshkills Park Administrator Eloise Hirsh

The Alliance is establishing Freshkills Park as a leader in land reclamation techniques. With cross-disciplinary investigation and interpretation in the arts and sciences, the park-in-process serves as a living laboratory to test strategies that other redevelopment projects around the globe can use. 3

Freshkills Park Development Manager Laura Truettner Landscape Architect Andrew Deer Manager for Science + Research Development Dr. Cait Field

Manager for Programs, Arts + Grants Mariel VillerĂŠ Communications + Programs Coordinator Megan Moriarty Education Programming Associate Terrance Caviness

2018 Annual Report

North Park construction is well underway as filling and grading operations create new landscape designed to bring people closer to the wetlands.

With 38 pairs observed, Freshkills Park was once again host to the largest nesting colony of Grasshopper Sparrows in New York State. The state-threatened species has been nesting at the Park since 2015. Researchers from the College of Staten Island also documented breeding Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Savannah Sparrows, and Bobolinks.

Photo: Jose Ramirez-Garofalo

Grassland monitoring continued in an effort to characterize differences in grassland habitat between sections of the Park. Currently, all of the Grasshopper sparrows (and the majority of Savannah sparrows) nesting at Freshkills Park are nesting on one of the mounds. This habitat study seeks to determine possible reasons for this nesting preference. Freshkills Park researchers measured habitat variables throughout the growing season, such as stem height, stem density, plant species, and percent cover. In addition, the NYC Parks Wildlife Unit partnered with Freshkills Park researchers to monitor noise level differences between the two sites to determine if noise levels were impacting birds’ nesting preferences. The results of the ongoing study will be used to draft adaptive grassland management plans that prioritize functional habitat for these rare grassland birds.

2018 Annual Report


Photo: Michael McWeeney

photo: Lance J. Reha

Restore and Build At North Park Phase One, ever-present construction vehicles have been placing and grading fill material to form the new half mile walking/cycling path, the seed farm, the comfort station, and the connection to Schmul Park. The overlook and bird tower are in fabrication at off-site metal shops, while the foundations for these structures will be constructed on site in 2019. Significant progress has been made on the South Park Anchor Park design with completion of the tree and wetland studies and the start of the subsurface investigation program. Collecting data about the underlying soils is key to designing the new athletic fields, the comfort station and the pedestrian bridges. Landscape architects at Starr Whitehouse have been preparing utility and grading plans to minimize earthwork and manage stormwater throughout the site. The team has also been developing planting plans that detail the types of and layout for trees and shrubs and architectural drawings for the restroom facilities.

Images and photos: Starr Whitehouse

This summer, Freshkills Park staff launched a biological filtering dock, or “living” dock, in Main Creek. The dock will help clean the water within the site’s network of tidal creeks using native plants and shellfish. The dock will also increase biodiversity, which makes the tidal wetland ecosystem more resilient in the face of climate change and storm events. The dock was constructed out of a recycled jet-ski dock and has been fitted with specially built planting cages that hang from the sides and in the middle to provide habitat for various plant species. In 2019, substrate for ribbed mussel spat to grow will be added, turning the dock into a biofilter for the waterways.

Mary Mattingly’s “Four Spheres” is a project that came out of the artist’s participation in Field R/D. An arrangement of four circular pollinator gardens with connective walkways create an aesthetic experience and provide habitat for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds. Four Spheres aims to serve as an organic food-heavy wildlife corridor to provide increased habitat for pollinators, the populations of which have been in decline. The garden at the Freshkills Park Studio + Gallery is a pilot project and ultimately envisioned for the interior of Freshkills Park.

Photo: Natalie Conn


2018 Annual Report

Photo: Andy Wanning

Photo: Natalie Conn

2018 Annual Report

Photo: Andy Wanning

Freshkills Park: Field R/D is an expansive art-research program organized by artist/curator Dylan Gauthier and Mariel Villeré. Over the course of a year, Field R/D artists develop proposals in a supportive environment. In 2018, the group made presentations at NADA NY as a cultural partner in March, Open Engagement: Sustainability at the New York City Panorama at the Queens Museum in May, and at the 8th Floor for a panel discussion titled “Waste Time: Breakdown, Decay, and Regeneration at Freshkills Park” in September.

Photo: Natalie Conn


Interpret and Understand The four-day Reclaimed Lands Conference brought together researchers, practitioners, planners, ecologists, artists, designers, community groups, and students to bridge the gaps between disciplines and productively explore issues and initiatives surrounding post-industrial reclaimed landscapes. With field trips and panels at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU Tisch, participants discussed topics like monitoring changes in biodiversity, designing ecologically sustainable redevelopment, engaging residents in stewardship, and transforming public perceptions. Between keynote talks and panel sessions, field trip attendees ventured to Freshkills Park, Liberty State Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Pennsylvania Avenue & Fountain Avenue Landfills. About 150 individuals attended, representing 35 different organizations from the New York metropolitan area and beyond.

Fastnet is a 20-foot shipping container that artist James Powers outfitted as a drawing studio for lessons that foster visual awareness. Situated in the “Confluence” at Freshkills Park, an area formerly used by the NYC Department of Sanitation for landfill operations and planned as a cultural and waterfront hub in the future park, the container opens up with a view onto Main Creek and South Mound in the distance. Funded through an Art Fund Grant from Staten Island Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and a grant from Con Edison, we invited school groups and the public for plein air landscape drawing lessons led by practicing artists from April through November in its inaugural year.

The Capturing Change series continued, with groups of photographers visiting the closed site and photographing the changing landscape. Photographers are invited to add their images to a growing photography archive, helping to document Freshkills Park’s transformation from landfill to 2,200-acre park. Those who photographed the Park in 2018 were also invited to submit their work to the first annual Capturing Change Photography Contest. The winners were selected by Freshkills Park: Field R/D photographer Natalie Conn.


2018 Annual Report

Photo: James Powers

Photo: Mayuko Fujino

Held in June and October, Discovery Day events provided access to hundreds of acres and miles of trails in the normally closed site, with various opportunities to explore and learn about the park project first-hand.

Photo: Mona Miri

Photo: Michael Anton, DSNY

2018 Annual Report

Photo: Michael Anton, DSNY


Photo: Michael Anton, DSNY

Expand Access Hailing from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and across Staten Island, 566 students in 3rd through 10th grade visited Freshkills Park in 2018. These field trips took place completely outdoors and introduced students, teachers, and chaperones to the ecology, history, and landfill engineering that make Freshkills Park the unique site that it is. Staff led classes on a one-mile nature walk identifying the plants and animals that live in the wetlands and grasslands. The walk culminated with a hands-on activity at the Mobile Lab where students used field guides, microscopes, and binoculars to connect with the Park’s ecology. In 2019 we will continue to create robust and engaging activities that combine methods and tools from the arts and sciences to elucidate ecological content central to Freshkills Park. We will gather feedback from and build relationships with teachers as we develop and grow the educational resources available for use in their classrooms.

In November, artist Lize Mogel led two bus tours of the Park project as a result of her experience in the Field R/D program from 2017-18. Lize expanded and resituated the typical park tour with a different perspective. Her work is representative of the art projects at Freshkills Park, particularly those developed through an inquiry-based process in the Field R/D program. Artists broaden the ways of thinking about and learning from Freshkills Park by synthesizing diverse narratives, references, and goals through a responsive approach. The time and space offered to artists as researchers through the yearlong Field R/D program allows them to build a relationship with the changing landscape and the people involved in its transformation. In the role of both composer and performer, artists unpack multiple layers of meaning of the site and find creative and poetic means to open the conversation to a wider public.

Photo: Michael Anton, DSNY

Photo: Owen Keogh

Photo: Lynette Thompson


Photo: Michael McWeeney

2018 Annual Report

Photo: Natalie Conn

Photo: Natalie Conn

Located at the edge of the Park, the Studio + Gallery opened in early 2018 to present multidisciplinary exhibitions that expand upon park project themes. The space is open on select days for public programs and exhibition viewing hours.

Photo: Natalie Conn

2018 Annual Report


Photo: Natalie Conn

Make Connections The Mobile Lab received hundreds of visitors in 2018, appeared at almost a dozen community events, and continued to serve as an onsite workspace for school groups. The solar powered environmental education lab encourages students to observe the plants and animals at the Park using microscopes, spotting scopes, and binoculars. Offsite, it offers the opportunity for people of all ages to learn about this unique, human made natural system. In 2019 staff will add new scientific equipment and introduce activities that combine art and science to teach about the Park’s ecology.

Freshkills Park expanded its presence in cultural institutions across New York City with partners including the New York Public Library. The Windows into Freshkills Park dioramas were installed at the St. George and Great Kills branch libraries in October to embed multimedia education on urban ecology into community spaces. Urban Omnibus organized an exhibition of Capturing Change landscape photographs in September and a multidisciplinary panel discussion in November. “Reorientation,” the essay by inaugural Urban Wild Writer-inResidence, Dani Alexander, was published in Urban Omnibus in November.


2018 Annual Report

Photo: Michael Anton, DSNY

700 students attended

26 K-12 field trips 270 volunteers mobilized 2018 Annual Report


Drive Impact 7,000+ people reached overall

4,000+ park visitors

31,000+ unique website visitors

Photo: Michael McWeeney


Photo: Amanda Bielskas

2018 Annual Report

Partners and Donors Government Agencies NYC Department of Sanitation NYC Department of City Planning NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Environmental Protection NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene NYC Department of Design and Construction NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Mayor’s Office of Sustainability NYC Economic Development Corporation NYS Department of Environmental Conservation NYS Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources NYS Department of Transportation NYS Department of Health The New York State Department of State, Office of Coastal, Local Government & Community Sustainability has provided funding to support the Freshkills Park project under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

Related City Initiatives Anchor Parks OneNYC Materials for the Arts MillionTreesNYC NYC Service NYC Nature Goals 2050 ReCAP Waterfront Vision 2020

Project Consultants Arcadis AKRF Arup BioHabitats, Inc. DACK Geosyntec Green Shield Ecology (GSE) ATANE (formerly HAKS) Integral

2018 Annual Report

James Corner Field Operations Julep Consulting Langan Philip Habib and Associates Project Projects Rogers Surveying Rutgers University Sanna & Loccisano Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners TRC Urban Arborists

Community Partners AHRC New York City Brooklyn Bridge Park City Parks Foundation Hilton Garden Inn New York Cares Showplace Entertainment Center Staten Island Greenbelt Staten Island Mall Travis Civic Association

Elected Officials Office of Senator Lanza Office of Assemblymember Cusick Office of City Council Member Rose Office of City Council Member Borelli Office of City Council Member Matteo

Recreation Partners

Mid-Island Rotary National Park Service New York Police Department New York Road Runners Transportation Alternatives Staten Island Athletic Club

Academic Partners City University of New York College of Staten Island Gaynor McCown High School New York Harbor School NYU Tisch/ITP Parsons School of Constructed Environments


Cultural Partners

AIANY/ Center for Architecture Alice Austen House The Architectural League of NY Classic Harbor Line DSNY Oral History Archive Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Municipal Arts Society New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) NYC Audubon New York Public Library Open Engagement Open House New York (OHNY) Projectivity Protectors of Pine Oaks Woods Queens Museum Snug Harbor Staten Island Arts Staten Island MakerSpace Staten Island Museum Staten Island OutLOUD! Staten Island Philharmonic The 8th Floor Urban Park Rangers (NYC Parks) Urban Omnibus Waterfront Alliance Wildlife Unit (NYC Parks)

Science + Research Partners

American Museum of Natural History College of Staten Island CUNY Graduate Center Hunter College Montclair State University New Jersey City University New York University New York/New Jersey Baykeeper NYC Audubon Rutgers University St. John’s University USDA Forest Service Yale University Wagner College

Donors and Sponsors (2018) AECOM Bloomberg Philanthropies

CetraRuddy Con Edison College of Staten Island Fund for the City of New York GEI HR & A Hyde and Watson Foundation The Joanne Witty and Eugene Keilin Fund Mid-Island Rotary The Nancy Hechinger Family Charitable Fund National Grid NEEF NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Patagonia Pratt Industries The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation Staten Island Arts

Photo: Sean Sweeney

Thank you to the individual donors who generously supported Alliance activities including the video project in 2018. We have made every effort to list partners and donors accurately. If your name is not listed as you wish, or if you notice an inaccuracy, please contact: info@freshkillspark.org

Look Forward interact, and to grow. We count on people like you to tell your friends and neighbors about what you’ve done and seen at Freshkills Park, and to encourage others to experience this vibrant place! 2020 is just around the corner. As we complete construction of the first section of North Park, free and open access represents the potential for new events and experiences as visitors can enjoy more regular entry to Freshkills Park. We hope you’ll be part of it all as a visitor and a backer. Keep in touch through our e-newsletter and social media channels, and of course, see you at the Park!

Photo: Mona Miri

We look forward to welcoming you in the coming year with additional ways to visit Freshkills Park, made possible by our supporters. Visitor impressions and feedback are essential as we introduce new programs to learn, to experience, to 15

2018 Annual Report

Join us! Visit open and closed sections of the landfill-to-park project. Check the website calendar for programs and events of all kinds.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter at www.freshkillspark.org Follow and tag @freshkillspark

Return to your favorite program and explore new ways of learning about this landscape. Volunteer at an event or with your colleagues. Email volunteer@ freshkillspark.org for more information. Donate to sustain the park project and expand opportunities to visit. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are Š The City of New York and Š Freshkills Park

2018 Annual Report

and Freshkills Park Alliance Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP Mayor Bill de Blasio