Daylighting Tibbetts Brook

A Broadway: 1000 Steps Project

2014- Present
Lead Artists: Amanda Schachter, Alexander Levi, & Bob Braine
Location: Van Cortlandt Park and Marble Hill neighborhoods, the Bronx
What is it? Daylighting Tibbetts Brook is a constellation of projects exploring the potential Daylighting Tibbetts Brook will have for New York City. The first two artist-led projects, taking place in 2018 are Finding Tibbetts by Schacter and Levi and Estuary Tattoos by Bob Braine.
Key Community Partners: Bronx Community Board 8, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, The Bronx Council for Environmental Equality, Wave Hill, The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, Baldwin Learning Center & Trail Project, KRVC, CRIAS

  A map showing the original course of Tibbetts Brook before it was paved over and funnelled into the Broadway Sewer a century ago, layered over a current street map. The areas in grey indicate where flooding is now a problem. The red line is the proposed new course of the to-be unearthed Tibbetts Brook, which could run down the abandoned CSX rail line directly into the Harlem River. This would prevent both neighborhood flooding and the combined sewer overflow that is the largest source of pollution entering the Harlem River. 

A map showing the original course of Tibbetts Brook before it was paved over and funnelled into the Broadway Sewer a century ago, layered over a current street map. The areas in grey indicate where flooding is now a problem. The red line is the proposed new course of the to-be unearthed Tibbetts Brook, which could run down the abandoned CSX rail line directly into the Harlem River. This would prevent both neighborhood flooding and the combined sewer overflow that is the largest source of pollution entering the Harlem River. 

Finding Tibbetts

FINDING TIBBETTS by Amanda Schachter & Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture is an innovative, demonstration project and public engagement initiative focused on the long-term goal of daylighting the buried stream which accounts for the largest combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into the Harlem River. It will draw attention to how daylighting the brook will substantially improve the condition of the Harlem River and provide a host of other health and environmental advantages. SLO has proposed a micro wetlands on a mobile truck bed to be displayed at a variety of sites from Van Cortland Lake to the Harlem River in view of or adjacent to the proposed course for daylighting – the abandoned CSX rail-bed. The design phase for this project will be completed this spring, with construction starting in July. The project will be open to the public and travelling through the Bronx from late August through October.

Estuary Tattoos

Estuary Tattoos by artist Bob Braine will coincide with the launch of SLO’s “pop-up wetland”. These body-painting events will be conceived in collaboration with ecologists and biologists, providing as a platform to explore the parallels between the human circulatory system with that of regional wetland ecology. In 2016, Braine carried out a similar series of events in Freisland, Germany translating the vast expanse of the Wadden estuary, which is only visible from the air, into vivid diagrams that evoked its hidden beauty, dynamic and nourishing circulation.
By making Bronx residents themselves into works of art, Braine will help them visualize and understand the estuary on a visceral level. The temporary ‘tattoos’ will be documented in still photographs and will be displayed at public outdoor sites near or around Van Cortlandt Park and/or the Lehman College Galleries.

The first iteration of Estuary Tattoos will be held at Car Free Earth Day on Broadway April 21st, 2018.