Fellows Forum: March 2017


CALL's Inagural Fellows Forum was held last week, March 21st 2017 at the Adobe NYC headquarters. Our intimate group engaged in a conversation about the merits and means of recreating Tibbetts Brook. This noble and ecologically important stream is currently ignominiously diverted into a sewer under Broadway, where it is combined with sewage and pumped to the Wards Island sewage treatment plant.  The stream captures the rain that falls in one third of the Westchester and Bronx watershed which frequently overwhelms the sewage system, causing it to be discharged into the Harlem River.  This Combined Sewer Overflow is the River’s largest source of pollution.

Eric Sanderson, author of Mannahatta presented on his current work, the Welikia project. This project is an endeavor to map the lost wetlands and streams of New York City. A part of this is Tibbetts Brook and the surrounding wetlands. Sanderson traced the historical picture of what has happened to this area of the Bronx over time and what the benefits of restoring the wetlands could be for the ecology of the greater New York metro area.

Also presenting at the forum was Marit Larson from the NYC Department of Parks, who is leading a proposal to restore the wetlands surrounding Van Cortlandt Park, create a new stream course through the park and onto the dormant CSX railroad right-of-way.  CALL has commissioned SLO Architecture  to build a large-scale model of what the resuscitated Brook and revitalized wetlands might look like, and Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi presented the proposal they have devised for creating a mobile model wetlands on truck beds. This project will give local residents an insight into the potential daylighting the brook will have in the Bronx. 

The presentations were followed with an opportunity to ask questions of the panel and engage in a dialogue about what it means to build cities of sustenance. CALL looks forward to the next Forum and the growth and develpment of the Fellows Program