‘It was basically stolen from us’ – Meet the NJ man who wants to resurrect the Meadowland’s ‘Sky Mound’

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A New Jersey man says that he has a dream to resurrect a now-defunct art project that was once proposed at the Meadowlands.

It was once proposed as the largest earth sculpture in the United States. The Sky Mound was supposed to be built on the site of a former landfill in Kearny alongside the New Jersey Turnpike. It was a plan by the now-defunct Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission and land artist and Clifton native Nancy Holt.

Sky Mount was supposed to be a park and viewing platform with mounds and earthen structures that aligned with celestial events like the sunsets at the Winter Solstice. Holt and the state started to work on the project in 1984, but nine years later, the project was quietly abandoned. All that remains is a pond that Holt built, as well as rows of solar panels installed by PSE&G.

But New Jersey resident and author Robert Sullivan says that he wants to see the dream of Sky Mound become a reality.

“This is like some of the great land art pieces - the great giant outdoor art pieces around the world,” Sullivan says. “Except this one is in New Jersey and we completely forgot about it and it was basically stolen from us in the middle of the night.”

Sullivan considers himself a champion of the Meadowlands. He wrote “The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures at the Edge of a City.” It is arguably the quintessential book about the region. In a recent article in the magazine “A Public Space,” Sullivan wrote that the work of Holt, who died in 2014, should be finished.

“The Meadowlands is the centerpiece of this region. All of these rivers that come into the one place, that feed in and out of this one place. This one place is the Times Square of our regional ecology. And Sky Mount is the center of the center,” Sullivan says.

The public is not currently allowed to visit the site of Sky Mount. News 12 New Jersey was granted special access by PSE&G.

A spokesperson for the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority, which now controls the site - said the solar farm on the landfill now provides "tremendous benefit to the public" by generating clean energy and putting a once fallow property to good use.

 

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