Completed in 1937, the Wards Island Sewage Treatment plant was the first to use the activated sludge process to treat sewage by removing solid matter, known as sludge, to leave behind clean water that could be released back into the environment. Prior to this only a fraction of the city’s sewage received treatment. Instead, most spilled from sewers directly into surrounding waterways where it strangled marine life and polluted city beaches. The project was realized with more than $11 million in grant monies from the Works Progress Administration. By 1939, both the Bowery Bay and Tallman Island sewage treatment plants were also in operation with more being planned. Today 14 Wastewater Resource Recovery Facilities treat over 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater every single day and New York City’s waterways are cleaner than ever.
Below is a photo of the sewage treatment plant in 1950.
The area to the north, where the FDNY training facility now exists, was a marshy peninsula, sticking out towards the Bronx.
Here is an image of this plant being build during the New Deal 1930s:
And the completed Administration building:
New Uptown Gallery and Exhibition
Be sure to check-out the AHL Foundation’s new gallery in Harlem (on FDB at 139). Their inaugural exhibition features Buhm Hong, Gyun Hur, Devin Osorio and Dianne Smith and is well worth visiting.
The exquisite drawings and digital art by Buhm Hong is mesmerizing and somehow both calming and disquieting at the same time.
New York, NY – AHL Foundation is proud to announce the opening of its first gallery in West Harlem in April 2022. The wheelchair-accessible gallery is located on the ground floor 2605 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY with a basement space for additional programming. The new space houses the Archive of Korean Artists in America (AKAA) and an educational space for the community.
Following AHL Foundation’s move to Harlem after its 19 year history, it is fitting that this inaugural exhibition in the new space uptown responds to its new neighborhood. Guest curated by Amy Kahng, the inaugural exhibition, Space Uptown opens to the public on April 30, 3-6pm and is on view until May 21, 2022.
An exhibition about locality and neighborhood history, the exhibition features artistic practices that reflect the local neighborhood. Participating artists Buhm Hong, Gyun Hur, Devin Osorio, and Dianne Smith, three of whom live and work in upper Manhattan, consider the communities, histories, memories, and environments that make up Harlem and Upper Manhattan more broadly.
Dianne Smith’s dynamic video work, The House of Lois K. Alexander-Lane, celebrates Harlem’s Black cultural history by weaving together footage from Smith’s participation as a young model in the 1985-1989 iterations of Harlem Fashion Week. Buhm Hong’s intricate and labyrinthine architectural designs, rendered both digitally and on paper, draw on various architectural references from his personal biography including his current homebase in Harlem. Devin Osorio’s fantastical paintings and sculptural works document his neighborhood of Washington Heights, highlighting the quotidian experiences of community, work, commuting, and familial connections. The twelve teardrop vessels filled with Hudson and Harlem River water by Gyun Hur reflect on loss, commemoration, and memory, particularly for the victims of the 2021 Atlanta Spa shooting. Installed here in Harlem, Hur’s work takes on new resonances within the current and historical movements for racial justice that have taken place in this neighborhood.