Years ago during my concert going days, I was adventurous enough to buy tickets to see and hear musical performances by new bands and artists that I knew very little about. I approached each concert with an open mind, but also armed with a bit of music background as I had the benefit of classical piano lessons, and was a member of the high school orchestra and jazz/rock band, to accompany my working knowledge of all things rock and roll. I fancied myself a bit of a music critic.
Some artists and groups were clearly better than others … and then there were those few whom I felt were so supremely gifted, they were destined for greatness. So overwhelmingly unique, they inspired new genres. I was right more times than I was wrong, when they went on to win Grammys and reach iconic levels of stardom.
Destined For Greatness
I bring up this music anecdote because once again I think I’m seeing something that’s destined for greatness. Now don’t laugh because I’m talking about a landfill reclamation project. Maybe it is silly for me to equate Rock and Roll greatness to a landfill that has become a park … but you’ve got to see this park, and then you be the judge.
A few days ago, the MSW Management magazine website received this email:
Good Morning, My name is Chris Velasco and I work for Freshkills Park in Staten Island, NY. Freshkills Park is the largest landfill to park reclamation project in the world and the Freshkills Park Development Office of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is hard at work finding ways to showcase the current and future potential of the Park. A plan for the park’s development was completed in 2006 and we are overseeing a series of projects in various stages of design, permitting and construction. We have developed programs that bring people to the site to experience firsthand the rolling hills, restored wetlands and sweeping vistas, and to hear about the park’s history and the state of the art engineering that has gone into closure. Not only are we building a great park on this site, but we are taking advantage of what it has been and what it is becoming, to deliver important messages about reuse and sustainability. Five years ago, we initiated what has become our signature event: Sneak ‘Peak’, which opens up 300+ acres of the former landfill to the public for a day to experience its restoration. Through partnerships and underwriting we are able to offer free activities for all age groups – hiking, kayaking, pony rides, kite flying, art exhibits, bird box building, science talks, special interest tours and much more. This year’s theme “Greenway Adventure” marks the park’s newest milestone – the construction of and soon-to-open New Springville Greenway, a 3.3-mile bike and pedestrian path along the eastern edge of the park (adjacent to Richmond Avenue in Staten Island.) This year the event will take place from 11am to 4pm on September 28th, 2014. Last year’s Sneak ‘Peak’ drew 3,500 people to the park and this year we are looking to bring 4,500 people to visit. We are hoping that you would be interested in writing about the park and our event on your blog. We also have a blog which can be found at http://freshkillspark.org/blog and do have a registered Landscape Architect on staff here as well! Attached you will find our event postcard, an image of the event and landscape. Thank you in advance for taking the time to process this email.
Thank you for your email, Mr. Velasco.
I went to the Fresh Kills Park website to find out more about it. The City of New York established the Fresh Kills Landfill in 1948, on the west shore of Staten Island. According to the website, by 1955 it was the largest landfill in the world. It says, “At its peak of operation in 1986-87, Fresh Kills received as much as 29,000 tons of trash per day and employed 680 people. The four landfills mounds on the site are made up of approximately 150 million tons of solid waste. While New York City had a number of operating landfills in the latter half of the 20th century throughout the five boroughs, many were closed as new landfill and environmental regulations came into effect. Fresh Kills, however, was allowed to remain open through a Consent Order between the State and the City and the site was retrofitted to meet these regulations. By 1991, Fresh Kills was New York City’s only operating landfill receiving residential garbage.”
I have a feeling this reclamation project is well on its way to becoming an influential superstar. The plan is to turn the 2,200 acres into a developed park that is almost three times the size of Central Park. And not only will it include a number of common and not so common recreational activities … “the park’s design, ecological restoration and cultural and educational programming will emphasize environmental sustainability and a renewed public concern for our human impact on the earth.”
You can check out the Fresh Kills Park website at www.freshkillspark.org for more information. And there’s a lot more information.