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Cleaning Up the Harlem River

Cleaning Up the Harlem River
The New York Restoration Project created a permanent riverfront esplanade at Sherman Creek linking it to Swindler Cove Park (above).

The Harlem River in upper Manhattan has been transformed; tens of thousands of tons of garbage, construction debris, and sunken boats have been removed, and Swindler Cove was transformed into a five-acre park with a children's garden and a boathouse. All of this was accomplished by New York Restoration Project, a nonprofit founded by Bette Midler. The group supplies labor, equipment, and project design and management to rescue parks, community gardens, and waterfronts in poor neighborhoods throughout the City. Three years ago, New York Restoration began work on Sherman Creek, a natural inlet on the Harlem River and a tidal estuary that is adjacent to Swindler Cove. It was the site of industry and power plants for most of the 20th century, and has suffered from illegal dumping, invasive plants, and neglect.

The group created a pedestrian trail on the southern portion to connect the creek with Swindler Cove. With our 2007 $50,000 grant, New York Restoration Project also extends the trail north, where the City restored the area. A team of its staff and AmeriCorp volunteers removed trash, planted native trees and shrubs to stop erosion and restore ecological balance, and ran environmental education programs.

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