At the western end of Staten Island, the city is creating its largest park in over 100 years. Aside from the massive size (2,200 acres–three times the size of Central Park), Freshkills Park stands out for other reasons: It was once the site of the world’s largest landfill (and rumored to be one of only two manmade structures visible from space).
Fresh Kills Landfill opened in 1948 in a largely undeveloped part of Staten Island. By 1955, it was the largest landfill in the world. State law passed in 1996 called for the landfill to stop receiving solid waste no later than December 31, 2001. The last garbage barge dropped off its final shipment on March 22, 2001, although a special exception was made after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when wreckage from the World Trade Center was delivered there.
Since 2001, the landfill has been undergoing the transformation to a park–the largest landfill-to-park transformation in the world. In fact, it is so large that it is comprised of five parks, the first of which opened in 2012 and is known as Schmul Park.
Freshkills Park opens once a year for a “Sneak Peak.” We received our own tour of the North Park, 21 acres with spectacular views that will one day be the site of New Springville Greenway, a 3.3-mile pedestrian and bicycle path along Richmond Avenue and the east edge of the Park.