100 years ago, Tibbetts Brook was a meandering waterway that ran through The Bronx wetlands, sustaining an enormous ecosystem on the edge of Manhattan’s booming industries. During this time, Manhattan’s rapid growth demanded development to the north of the city and city planners rerouted Tibbetts Brook by burying it into the Broadway sewer.
Today, this "simple solution" dumps millions of gallons of freshwater into an overflowing sewer system, making it the leading source of pollution in the Harlem River. Flooding from the runoff has also plagued Marble Hill and the neighborhoods surrounding Van Cortlandt Park – a neighborhood further splintered by a century of poor urban planning which has fractured and isolated this area of The Bronx.
City as Living Laboratory (CALL) has been supporting the efforts to unearth, or “daylight,” the hidden stream by channeling it along an abandoned railroad line directly into the Harlem River. This will allow the clean, fresh water of Tibbetts Brook to bypass the sewer system, collect excess rainwater and create a beautiful new linear park with walking trails and bike paths that will join the new greenway planned to connect Van Cortlandt Park to the High Bridge.
For Season Three: Drink Local, Water Futures has invited CALL founder and artist Mary Miss to host a discussion about the daylighting of Tibbetts Brook with Director of the Columbia Water Center Dr. Upmanu Lall, former Principal Urban Designer for NYC Parks Charles McKinney and Executive Director of Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Christina Taylor. Together, they will examine why reviving this hidden stream is crucial to the future sustainability of The Bronx and the challenges that lie ahead.
Doors open at 7:00pm. Talk starts at 7:15pm.
ABOUT MARY MISS
Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. She has developed the “City as Living Lab,” a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts.
CALL began this exploration of Tibbetts Brook through a series of WALKS and WORKSHOPS in the neighborhood, starting in 2012. 2018 saw the launch of the first two projects aimed at building public awareness and encouraging local residents to begin to envision expand their vision for a greener, more sustainable Bronx. CALL aims to build on the momentum of these projects to roll out more community workshops in 2019 which will inform designs for the rebirthing of Tibbetts Brook.
Follow CALL on the journey towards daylighting: #FindingTibbetts.
ABOUT WATER FUTURES
The A/D/O Water Futures Research Program, curated by Jane Withers, addresses and explores the drinking water crisis and asks: “How can design help address this in the future?” Our third and final season of programming, “Drink Local,” explores how designers help reimagine ways to deliver water in cities, bringing urban citizens closer to and more appreciative of the source of our water.