Calvert Vaux: Architect for the People | Episode 257

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Though often overlooked due to his association with Frederick Law Olmsted, Calvert Vaux is an important figure in American architecture in his own right. A classically-trained architect, talented artist, and collaborator with landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing, he had already done major projects before working with Olmsted on Central Park, and would continue to design parks and public buildings after their partnership dissolved. To mark Vaux’ 197th birthday, we will examine his 40-year career in New York City, his distinctive architectural style, and his legacy of designing buildings and landscapes for the public good, including museums, parks both large and small, and housing for the poor.

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Economy, Access, and Resilience: Staten Island’s North Shore with the Waterfront Alliance, Part 2 | Episode 254

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In the second installment of this series on the history and ecology of Staten Island’s North Shore, we are joined by Karen Imas, Senior Director of Programs at the Waterfront Alliance to discuss the organization’s recent study of island’s northeast shore, stretching from the Verrazzano Bridge to Stapleton. This study takes a community-centered approach to dealing with issues of waterfront access, resiliency, preparing for climate change, and the working waterfront using the organization’s Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG).

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Soundview Ferry Virtual Tour | Episode 253

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Take a ride to the Bronx on this virtual tour of the Soundview Route on NYC Ferry, as we discuss important landmarks of NYC’s history of housing, food, and exclusion. Starting from Wall Street, we will cruise under the iconic East River bridges, stop in Stuyvesant Cove, and make our way up the river before heading into new waters for our virtual tours, past the Hell Gate and into mouth of Long Island Sound. We will discuss the history of the East River’s islands, many of which have been sites of exclusion and incarceration, including Roosevelt Island, Randalls Island, the Brother Islands, and of course Rikers Island. We will also see some of the city’s most critical infrastructure, including power plants, waste transfer stations, LaGuardia Airport, and the vast food distribution facility at Hunts Point, before landing in Soundview at the mouth of the beautiful but mistreated Bronx River.

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Olmsted, Public Health, and Urban Planning with Olmsted-Beil House | Episode 244

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Join Turnstile Tours and the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a virtual panel discussion to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Frederick Law Olmsted’s report for the Staten Island Improvement Commission, a comprehensive plan for the island’s growth and development. We will hear unique perspectives about Staten Island in the late 1800s, Olmsted’s public health recommendations, and his legacy in the greenest borough of New York City. The panel will include Prof. Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Director of Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture; Jessica Kratz of the Staten Island Greenbelt Nature Center; naturalist Ed Johnson, emeritus curator of science at the Staten Island Museum; and moderated by Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours.

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Climate Change Conversation with Prospect Park Alliance Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein | Episode 242

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Join the conversation during Climate Week NYC with Prospect Park Alliance‘s Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein. Howard will share insights on the unique challenges the part faces as the borough’s only forest, and what impact climate change is having the composition of the forest, the biodiversity that it supports, and the pests that threaten its health in the short- and long-term future.

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Exploring Bush Terminal Park | Episode 229

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Built on the footprint of the piers and warehouses of the historic Bush Terminal, Bush Terminal Park provided much-needed green space and waterfront access to the Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood when it opened in 2014. Join us for a virtual walk through the 22-acre park, which offers remnants of the site’s maritime and manufacturing history, unique engineered tide pools and a wild-growing forest, and unparalleled views of the harbor and skyline.

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Exploring Staten Island’s Olmsted-Beil House | Episode 226

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Join us for a special panel discussion and virtual tour of Staten Island’s landmark Olmsted-Beil House, an historic farmhouse and museum where landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted began his monumental career. While Central Park, Prospect Park, and countless other parks across America display Olmsted’s genius, beginning in 1848, this farmstead is where he developed his professional interest in landscape design. Here he learned horticulture, experimented with different plants and landscape forms, and wrote about his travels to public parks in Europe. On this program, we will explore the property grounds with historian and Friends of the Olmsted-Beil House board member Patricia Salmon, and we will be joined by Justin Martin, author of Olmsted biography Genius of Place.

This program is offered in partnership with the Friends of the Olmsted-Beil House as part of the ongoing celebrations for Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday year, Olmsted 200.

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Spring Planting in Prospect Park | Episode 213

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On this virtual walk, we will join Prospect Park Alliance’s gardeners for a tour of their work doing spring plantings around the Lakeside section of the park, including on the intensive green roof garden atop the LeFrak Center skating rink. Corbin Laedlein, Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener for the Alliance, will walk us through the landscape and discuss how they choose different plants for ecological, aesthetic, habitat purposes.

Plants mentioned in the program included: Rhus aromatica, Fothergilla gardenii, Cornus florida, Achillea millefolium, Pycnanthemum muticum, Monarda fistulosa, Cirsium arvense, Amelanchier canadensis, Betula nigra, Chionanthus virginicus, Artemisia vulgaris, Elymus virginicus, Penstemon digitalis, Phragmites, Galium mollugo, Ampelopsis glandulosa, Celastrus orbiculatus, Convolvulus, Cyperus esculentus, Lemnoideae, Typha

This program is presented as part of Jane’s Walk 2021 with the Municipal Art Society of New York.

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Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks: Documentary and Discussion

People standing on Lullwater Bridge

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April 26 is Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday, and for his 199th, the National Association of Olmsted Parks is kicking off a yearlong celebration as we approach his bicentennial in 2022. The first event is a panel discussion of Rebecca Messner’s 2011 documentary Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks (which prominently features Prospect Park) with TIME Magazine’s Justin Worland; Dr. Thaisa Way, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington; Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation; and Justin DiBerardinis, Director of Philadelphia’s FDR Park. When you sign up for the free panel discussion, you will receive a link to watch the documentary for free at your convenience on April 24 or 25.

To learn more about the bicentennial campaign honoring and exploring Frederick Law Olmsted, please visit www.olmsted200.org, and we will be posting special events related to Olmsted’s life and work in New York in the coming weeks.

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Great Trees of New York with Allison C. Meier | Episode 210

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Celebrate Earth Day with some of New York City’s oldest and most beautiful trees. Six years ago, writer Allison C. Meier set out to visit and learn about each of NYC Parks’ official “Great Trees,” and she turned her exploration of these august arbors into her recently-published The Great Trees of New York Map. Join our conversation with Allison as we discuss some of her favorite trees, how to find them, and why they are such an important part of the city’s historic and ecological landscape. We will even join the conversation live from some of the Great Trees of Prospect Park.

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