Finally, after decades of advocacy by residents, the city is going to “daylight” Tibbetts Brook. Examples of stream daylighting exist both throughout the world and close to home. Downtown Yonkers, only a few miles north of New York City, recently brought the Saw Mill River back into view.
It won’t be so easy in the Bronx. The stream will follow the old CSX train tracks (not its original path) to the Harlem River. The project will mitigate some of the pollution and flooding problems that occur during heavy rains. Unfortunately, the new watercourse will be so narrow that it will not have much of an impact on the heat island effect created by the adjacent commercial lots.
The Tibbetts Estuary Tapestry imagines a reality, or versions of it, where green roofs are installed on all the huge flat rooftops and the city increases the number of permeable hardscapes in the corridor.
Throughout the tapestry viewers will see clusters of green French knots representing street trees and canopy cover. Part of the digital mapping process involved capturing all the existing trees in the corridor so participants could render them in thread. A significant portion of the meager canopy comes from volunteer trees growing in the margins between the highway and railroad. Most of the street trees are new and stunted by the harsh growing conditions generated by the blocks of commercial development with expansive parking lots and little stewardship.