You are reading

Two Murals Go up at Highland Park in Recognition of Ridgewood Reservoir and Natural Environment

The Ridgewood Reservoir, located on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, is a historic, decommissioned reservoir that provided Brooklyn with fresh water between 1858 and 1959. It is now a freshwater wetland that hosts a thriving ecosystem (Photo: NYC H2O)

July 29, 2022 By Christian Murray

Two murals have gone up at the entrance to the footpath at Highland Park—a park that is located on the Brooklyn/Queens border and surrounds the Ridgewood Reservoir.

The artwork was painted on an onsite shipping container at the park in early July. The artwork aims to highlight the unique natural environment and infrastructure of Highland Park that is known best for the reservoir, which once provided fresh water for Brooklyn residents.

The murals were selected as part of a contest that was launched in April 2022 by NYC H2O, a group that aims to protect the city’s water ecology, with the goal of bringing attention to the Ridgewood Reservoir. The reservoir is a historic landmark, which is now surrounded by restored walkways, spaces landscaped with natural plant species, and pollinator gardens.

A mural was painted on an onsite shipping container at Highland Park in early July. This mural titled “To the Birds,” shows birds at the Ridgewood Reservoir interacting with vines, trees, and historic infrastructure, (Photo: NYC H2O)

NYC H2O, which leads the efforts to protect and restore the native ecology of the Ridgewood Reservoir and its surroundings, uses the shipping container to store its tools used by its work crew and community volunteers to protect and improve Highland Park. The Parks Dept. recently permitted NYC H2O to keep the shipping container onsite.

The pandemic saw the park’s use triple and the work being conducted by NYC H2O has received the support of a number of council members including Sandy Nurse, Jennifer Guitérrez and Bob Holden.

“The Ridgewood Reservoir is a hidden gem for the residents of District 34 and NYC. NYC H2O’s stewardship is unique in its constant dedication to community engagement at every turn. These beautiful new murals are just another example of how they enrich not just the space itself, but the surrounding community. I’m proud to help fund and support their efforts,” Guitérrez said.

Highland Park. The Ridgewood Reservoir is contained within the park (GMaps)

The larger mural, by Brooklyn-based artist Kate Nielsen, depicts some of the 175 bird species, including cardinals and red-wing blackbirds, that pass through on migratory routes or call the Reservoir their home year-round.

Titled “To the Birds,” the brightly-colored artwork shows the birds interacting with vines, trees, and historic reservoir infrastructure, invoking a sense of rewilding, a theme Nielsen enjoys exploring in her art practice.

“When I think about water and New York, I think of it as a precious and fragile resource. We are lucky to have enough of it, but we have to figure out how to keep it clean enough to be a sustainable and renewable resource for generations to come,” Nielsen said. “The piece celebrates the journey of NYC’s water supply as well as the journey the many bird species take within and while passing through NYC. “

A mural was painted on an onsite shipping container at Highland Park in early July. This mural, which is painted on the doors, features flowers, leaves, and a city skyline, and illustrates that nature persists even in densely populated cities like NYC (NYC H2O)

The smaller mural has gone up on the doors of the shipping container and was painted by 9th grader Jasmine Huang.

“The Ridgewood Reservoir is so peaceful and calming,” said Huang.

Huang’s mural features flowers, leaves, and a city skyline, and illustrates the enduring natural features still persist even in densely populated cities like NYC.

“The new murals on NYC H2O’s volunteer trailer are a vibrant and welcome addition to the park, reflecting its natural beauty with the colorful birds and history of Highland Park’s Ridgewood Reservoir,” said NYC Parks Forest & Highland Park Administrator Portia Dyrenforth.

“We hope these murals will inspire all who see it to volunteer and care for this incredible resource.”


email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force investigating vandalism at Forest Hills church that has been targeted in the past

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating a case of criminal mischief at a Forest Hills house of worship in which a vandal threw a rock to intentionally damage its glass front door, according to authorities.

Police say that just before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, police from the 112th Precinct were called to Grace Lutheran Church, located at 103-15 Union Tpke., after a man threw a rock and damaged the church’s front door.

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.