Readings “The Meadowlands,” by Robert Sullivan was difficult at first, but soon became an enjoyable read for myself. As someone who has lived in Ohio for most of my life, it was hard to picture a swampy area filled with trash somewhere not located in the South (Florida, Louisiana, etc.). I am not familiar with the area, but after research, I was able to understand the situation better.
At the beginning of the book, Sullivan discusses how the industry and urbanization of people have destroyed the ecosystem at the Meadowlands. For example, trash is found everywhere in the swamp, like animal remains from the slaughterhouses are found in local streams (Sullivan 22). Sullivan goes on and on about how trash is found everywhere, you can find body remains from when they dug up the graveyard (Sullivan 30). It’s very interesting to see how an ecosystem like this gets destroyed from urbanization of New York City. It was also fascinating to hear when Sullivan was talking about how Snake Hill is only around because the demolition company was afraid to blow it up and make the turnpike loose or fall apart.
Sullivan broke down the book into different sections. His chapter titled, “Treasure,” was the one i found most interesting. Treasure was about a man named Leo Koncher, who was 83 years old at the time, and found a passion for canoeing. It wasn’t something he has always done, but once he started doing it, he enjoyed being out by the water all the time. He was fascinated with exploring the waters and looking for old pirate treasure, as well as remnants from the Belleville Turnpike (Sullivan 132.) Another thing he enjoys doing is helping the wildlife. If he sees animals in danger like seagulls, he will help get them out of the trash and hopefully fly away safely. Leo saw it as a heartwarming sight to see a bird fly away.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was interesting how Sullivan interviewed all these people to get a firsthand experience. As someone who has never been there before, it was hard to get an image of this vast land. With these people experiences, it helped get a sense of how the local people think of whats going on. I am very excited to hear everyone’s thoughts today in class.