Stuyvesant Cove Park serves our community and beyond as a resilient and beautiful space, that has evolved from formal native plant gardens into a productive natural ecosystem. This engineered native food forest is a vibrant example of regenerative stewardship on a former industrial site. Solar One manages this city-owned property in partnership with the NYC EDC.
Permaculture park programs centered around resilience education and the sustainable and reciprocal stewardship of public land realize the capacity of our two acre waterfront site to serve as a living symbol of the potential for urban ecological restoration and renewal. We invite neighbors of all ages to come play and learn and grow with wild plants in our clean soils.
Wild Foods – We practice regenerative native plant agriculture: growing resilience through farming wild foods such as persimmons, beach plums, bayberry, and saltbush on public land in NYC. Stuy Cove is organically managed as an all-native plant food forest, and is the only NYC park that encourages foraging of wild foods. Through delicious indigenous plants, we explore the interdependencies of native plants, wildlife, and people. We host and contribute to wild foods events, and harvest wild edibles for culinary uses.
Resiliency – In the coming years, our park will be clearcut, razed, and re-built to provide flood protection as part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project. In preparation, we are working to incubate the biological diversity cultivated over the past 15 years at Stuy Cove by banking our wealth of locally adapted plants in large portable containers. These Modular Edible Ecosystems will be moved off-site temporarily during construction, and then brought back in to populate the new park.
Reciprocal Stewardship – As we work together with students and volunteers on sustainable service learning projects, facilitators teach the park as it is today: a young natural area protected by the City of New York as a “recognized ecological complex,” and designated as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Participants discuss conservation and land use ethics, the concept of wilderness in the context of colonialism, and work together to define nature in the urban landscape.
Children’s Play Garden – Our youngest visitors enjoy this clean and safe space where they can enjoy child-led imaginative play in nature. Kids explore ecology through digging, building fairy houses, and free play. We encourage them to make the garden their own – and they can touch everything!
Our location on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway 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 natural and wild ecology and provide a unique and beautiful multi-purpose space for observing wildlife, 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 9 am-12 pm. These events are open to the public and we encourage local park users to take part in a stewardship role. Tasks include invasive species removal, pruning along paths, watering, and other activities associated with management of this unique urban wilderness. We hope to see you there!
For more information about public events or scheduling a volunteer day for your company or group, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/eaCv2cL3qEKCFDbf8.
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 especially in the middle of New York City, where we provide a home to many birds and insects as well as an important refuge and refueling stop for migrating birds.
In using only natives, we also hope to promote awareness of the unique flavors of our local biome. Each region boasts a particular mix of wild foods, 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. Fishermen can often be found in the Park, catching bluefish, crabs, 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 pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, relying entirely on the cycles and happenstance of nature, allowing free rein to all species of wildlife – pests included! We compost our park waste, as minimizing the amount of organics that go to landfills is an important best practice for sustainable land management. The use of power tools is limited to only what is absolutely necessary, and we use soy based, non-toxic graffiti remover. Additionally, in a post Hurricane Sandy world, we have placed a new emphasis on monitoring plantings that are likely to be resilient to flooding, and have been naturally selected to survive in our challenging location. Much of the effort that goes into maintaining the park 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.
Eleven thousand years ago the drowned valley known as the East River was formed by glaciers. For centuries, the land around the East River and the Hudson River was inhabited by the Lenape indigenous people who used the area for hunting, fishing, and farming. Europeans first settled in the area they named New Amsterdam in 1609, and the English took over from the Dutch in 1674 and renamed it to New York. Peter Stuyvesant, who had been Governor for 27 years, retired to his 62 acre farm located right next to the East River. This is the area in which Stuyvesant Town will be created, but that won’t be for another 273 years… read more at https://www.solar1.org/park-history/