Shirley Chisholm State Park Environmental Education Center

March 2022New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Brooklyn, NY

Can we give nature a second chance?

Shirley Chisholm State Park is located in Jamaica Bay on the eastern shoreline of Brooklyn. As the second largest state park in New York City, it is set on top of two former waste dump sites that had grown into hills over thirty-plus years. The sites were closed in the 1980s, sealed in the 2000s, and planted with tons of soil and 33,000 native plants. Because the landfill seals do not allow penetration, the Education Center, designed by Moey and built by ARCH Construction and Design NYC, appears inside two shipping containers: one themed on land, the other on water. Visitors engage in interactive explorations inside the containers, discovering the park’s history and building appreciation for its return to a natural state.

How to make something else first

New York State kept its parks open during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was especially important at Shirley Chisholm State Park, with its neighboring urban community. Moey helped by quickly designing and building a temporary installation way ahead of schedule. It included display and interactive graphics, and learning stations for educational programs.

How to crank up your designs

Topographic models are a staple of park visitor centers. For these two - one per shipping container - it was important to allow visitors to see underground and underwater. So we designed drill-core samples that could be raised and lowered interactively, and we worked closely with exhibit fabricators to select the most robust parts to make them work.

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