Published in

Staten Islanders Win Parks Haiku Competition

Haiku by four Staten Island residents have won this year's Freshkills Park Haiku Contest. Contestants were asked to create haiku, which are poems of three lines with five, seven and five syllables, about the park.

In the adults category, the winners -- who were not ranked -- were Stevie D'Arbanville, Louis J. Lombardo and Sarah Dolinar. 12-year-old Christopher Pagano won in the students category.  Each winner won a limited edition Freshkills Park hat.

Staten Island's Freshkills Park was once the largest landfill in the world according to the Parks Department. In 1996, Rudolf Giuilani and fellow Republican George Pataki signed an agreement to close the landfill by 2001 and turn it into a 2,200-acre park — one nearly three times the size of Central Park.

The project, which is expected to take 30 years to complete, is running into problems. The first segment of the park — several soccer fields near the edge of the garbage mounds — has been put on hold because the foundation is sinking.

The judges for the haiku contest included Ava Chin, author of The New York Times Urban Forager column, and poets Patrick Morrissey and Oliver de la Paz. Here are the winning 17-syllable poems:

Louis LombardoStevie D’Arbanville's winning haiku:
Somewhere underneath
The bike paths I will ride on
My old love letters

Louis J. Lombardo's (pictured at left) winning haiku:
Oasis appears
Decay now gives way to growth
Nature rejoices

Sarah DolinarSarah Dolinar's (pictured at left) winning haiku:
To think that our trash
Molded in lovely moundings
Now draws birds, bugs, us!

Christopher Pagano's winning haiku:
Kites flying up high
And birds hovering above
And hiking below