Huguenot Ponds, Staten Island

On the South Shore of Staten Island between Arbutus and Wolfe Creeks there is a set of ponds that are part of the larger Bluebelt system, located within private, state, and city-owned land. One such example is Huguenot Ponds in the neighborhood of Huguenot on Huguenot Avenue.

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The pond is part of the Arbutus Creek Bluebelt, a watershed that drains into Arbutus Creek. This 1.53-acre constructed wetland is an important element in the city’s effort to manage storm runoff through natural means rather than sewers.

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Twin Ponds, Queens

In preparation for my upcoming lecture at King Manor Museum on April 17, here’s another hidden southeast Queens waterway. Twin Ponds today are hidden behind thick vegetation along a shoulder of the Belt Parkway in the Laurelton neighborhood.

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Prior to 1954 when the parkway was widened, the ponds were a popular ice skating venue, and prior to that they supplied water to the residents of eastern Queens and Brooklyn. Continue reading

What Remains of Kissena Creek

What if my book had a children’s edition for a younger audience? With a warm Sunday two days ago, I took my daughter to Kissena Park. Having recently gained the confidence to walk, she was excited to do it in open space where there’s so much to discover.

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The centerpiece of the park is Kissena Lake, a natural waterway that drains into a wetland. It is a remnant of a larger stream that flowed through central Queens on its way to Flushing Meadows. Most of this stream is buried, but where exactly does it disappear from the surface? Continue reading

Jack’s Pond, Staten Island

Where the street grid covered numerous ponds across the city’s boroughs, the youngest of them, Staten Island still has plenty to offer. Along the island’s south shore, numerous ponds and creeks that were once erased by mapmakers in favor of yet-to-be-built streets have reemerged within the Staten Island Bluebelt. Launched in 1990 by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, the program involves acquiring privately-owned wetlands and re-purposing them as storm water drainage corridors, essentially allowing nature to channel the excess water rather than having it travel through sewers.

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These preserved ribbons of open space function not only as storm water channels but also as parks and nature preserves in a rapidly developing borough. Among the 19 designated Bluebelt properties on the South Shore is Jack’s Pond, an apparent throwback to an earlier time in the Great Kills neighborhood.  Continue reading