The Restoration of Eibs Pond

Since the late 80's, when Eibs Pond was designated as a protected wetlands area and officially became a New York City Park, there has been almost continuous action to restore the park area. Many people and organizations have cooperated in restoring the park: the Parks Commission; the Design Trust for Public Space; the Borough President's Office; Congressman Vito Fossella; the Urban Conservation Corps; AmeriCorps; local community leaders and teachers like Eileen Finnin, Beverly DeAngelis, Dr. Elaine Allen, Rev. Hattie Smith-Davis, and Patricia Lockhart; and scores of local children, teenagers, and adults.

  • 1991: PS 57 Science Teacher Eileen Finnin brings her first grade class to the Meadow Restoration Event on Earth Day (1).
  • 1992: Fifty volunteers led by Dr. Elaine Allen spend a day removing garbage from the park (2,4,5). Beverly DeAngelis leads a group of parents and children, armed with nets, wading boots, pasta strainers, and water testing kits, in "discovering" forms of life at the pond. (3)
  • 1996: Another 8.8 acres are transferred to the Parks Department from developer Randy Lee.
  • 1997: The Parks Council gets DEC permit to remove cars (6). The first group of Urban Conservation Corps (UCC)youth start working on the park. They remove debris, create a cut-log walkway, clear and woodchip trails (8), and place birdhouses throughout the park.
  • 1998: UCC teenagers pull weeds, clear debris, ddraw plans for the park (10) and keep journals. AmeriCorps volunteers build the Raised Walkway in one week(11). People can now sit and enjoy the park (12). Volunteers remove more than a thousand tires (13).
  • 1999: The TPL donates an additional 9 acres of land to the park. The Fox Hills Tenants Association, led by President Reverend Hattie Smith-Davis, collaborates with the Parks Council to secure $100,000 in funding from foundation grants, and another $100,000 from the Urban Resources Project, a coalition of federal agencies. These funds, along with the efforts of a summer youth employment program, result in a major restoration to the park, including soil and water quality improvements, and disabled-access renovations. The New York Times runs an article (14) about the restoration of the park. A Master Plan (15) is submitted to the Borough President's Office. Construction of the Outdoor Classroom begins, working from a large-scale model from Marpilerro Pollak Architects (16, 17, 18). Fisherman (19) return in record numbers.
  • 2000: The Fox Hill Tenant Association gets a grant to build an accessible path and control erosion. More Americorps volunteers complete the Outdoor Classroom (20, 22.) Celebration Day marks its completion, with awards to volunteers and PS 57 children reading their stories about the pond.
  • 2001: PS 57 children's drawings about the pond (24) are featured at the Guggenheim Museum.
  • 2002: The Design Trust for Public Space produces a large, beautiful full-color poster about Eibs Pond Park (a major source for the History and Restoration pages here) and creates a plan for further restoration of the southern edge of the park (bottom).