The Meadowlands district of northeastern New Jersey is an estuary of the Hackensack River surrounding the New Jersey Turnpike North on either side, about 5 miles west of Times Square. Its history of pollution runs back to the 1920’s with the building of the Oradell Dam, which transformed a freshwater lowland forest into a stagnant marsh. Coupled with unregulated garbage dumps, raw sewage and chemical pollution, the Hackensack River was known as one of the most polluted rivers in the USA and the probable location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body among many others.
In 1968 Hartz Mountain Industries bought 175 acres of this wetland to later develop Harmon Meadow. The Mill Creek Mall and the Plaza at the Meadow incorporate office space, restaurants, hotels, and retail/warehouse space on existing landfills. They were so successful with their real estate ventures, which include the New York SoHo and the Tribeca Grand hotels and 667 Madison (their Harmon Publishing included the Village Voice and independent newspapers nationwide), that they sold their pet supply business in 2002. Their wetland reclamation project permits canoeing, kayaking and birding in and among Walmart, Home Depot and Liz Claiborn big box stores. A long, low horizon with white rectangles seated among uniform color; it’s pretty fucking elegant.