Stuyvesant Cove Park is a sustainably-managed, all-native-species park, located on the East River between 18th and 23rd Streets. The design of its 1.9 acres was inspired by the natural shapes of the East River, with curving paths and pavers resembling waves from above. Situated between the 14th Street power plant to the south, a gas station to the north, and the FDR Drive overhead, Stuy Cove provides a welcome oasis of green.
Our location on the river offers fishing access and expansive views of North Brooklyn and Long Island City and serves as an excellent vantage point for watching river traffic. The park’s naturalistic plantings and location along the bike path provide a unique and beautiful multi-purpose space for relaxing, picnicking, exercising, and much more. The park is also home to many of Solar One’s solar-powered events, including movies, music, educational programs, and family days.
Regular volunteer events are held throughout the season on Saturday mornings from 10am-1pm. These events are open to the public and we encourage local park users to take part in a stewardship role. Tasks include weeding, pruning, watering, mulching and general park beautification. This year’s Saturday Volunteer Days are May 12, May 19th, June 16th, July 21st, August 18th, September 15th, and October 20th. We hope to see you there!
For more information and to RSVP, please email Park Manager Emily Curtis-Murphy at murphy[at]solar1[dot]org. If you are interested in scheduling a special volunteer day for your company or group, please contact Emily at the email above.
Stuyvesant Cove Park has over 100 different species of plants, all of which are native to the New York area. In using only natives we aim to provide habitat for wildlife and to promote local pride in our unique natural flora. Native birds, animals and insects rely on native plants for food and shelter. Non-natives do not provide them with these resources; often, non-native landscapes are deserts of animal life. In a world where human landscapes are increasingly encroaching on natural landscapes, we believe it’s important to integrate nature into our yards and parks to help sustain native wildlife and lessen the impacts of habitat destruction. This is important even in the middle of New York City, where we provide a home to many birds and insects as well as a stopping point for migrating birds.
In using only natives, we also hope to promote awareness of the unique flavor of our local biome. Each region boasts a particular mix of natives, and we think that’s special. In New York, we sit at the crossroads of two regional wildlife ranges; the New England biome and the Mid Atlantic biome. We therefore have a rich array of native plants to choose from. Variety brings the opportunity for interesting and unusual selections, which we hope sparks the fascination of our urban neighbors and inspires appreciation of the unique natural world around us.
Stuyvesant Cove Park’s extensive range of native plants, organic maintenance methods, and naturalistic design attract a surprising array of wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation designated Stuyvesant Cove Park as Wildlife Habitat #50805, based on NWF’s standards of “conscientious planning, landscaping and sustainable gardening,” where “wildlife may find quality habitat, food, water, cover and places to raise their young.” The park showcases indigenous plant species that support many kinds of birds and insects, such as Echinacea, Milkweeds, Dogwoods, Oaks, and many more. Our section of the East River is home to estuary wildlife as well. Set back from the strong tidal currents, the cove provides shelter for many kinds of waterbirds and the occasional harbor seal.
Birdwatchers have spotted dozens of native birds, including Swamp sparrow, Song sparrow, Gray Catbird, Barn Swallow, Brant, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Dark-eyed Junco, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Robin, Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned sparrow, Black-throated Green Warbler, Tree Sparrow, and Mockingbird. Waterfowl species regularly sighted include Great Black-backed Gull, Mute and Trumpet Swans, Ruddy Ducks, Double Crested Cormorants, Buffleheads, Red-Breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaups, Red Throated Loon, and Ring-Billed Gulls. Fisherman can be found in the Park, often catching bluefish, striped bass, and other species. Last but not least, the Park is a welcoming habitat for the annual migration of Monarch butterflies, providing food and shelter on their 4,000-mile journey to their winter home in Mexico.
Sustainability is a founding principle at Stuyvesant Cove Park. We are dedicated to providing a model of park maintenance that has minimal environmental impact, both globally and locally. We are organically maintained and use no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, relying instead on Integrated Pest Management and other best practices. We compost our park waste, minimizing the amount that goes to landfill. The use of power tools is limited to only what is absolutely necessary, and we use soy based, non-toxic graffiti remover. We cultivate only perennial plants reducing our need to order and ship hundreds of plants every year. Additionally, in a post Hurricane Sandy world, we have placed a new emphasis on plantings that are likely to be resilient to flooding. Much of the effort that goes into making sustainability successful is done by the hard work of a dedicated corps of volunteers and partnerships with several organizations that provide support with interns and volunteers. These include The Stuyvesant Cove Park Association, New York Cares, Comprehensive Development Inc., and more. We are grateful for their time and hard work.