The borough that offers the biggest collection of hidden waterways also has the southernmost point in the state of New York at Conference House Park. Known historically as Ward’s Point, the tip of land where Arthur Kill flows into Raritan Bay has an unnamed brook that shares its location’s superlative as the state’s southernmost stream.
The brook flows entirely within the park, at its conclusion meeting the sea with views of South Amboy and the hills of Cheesequake State Park. Lovely name.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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