For decades, Staten Island – a borough of New York City – has been associated with stink. That’s because it’s home to Freshkills, the world’s largest landfill, which received its last load of trash in 2001. But the island’s unsavory reputation won’t last long, now that Freshkills is set to be transformed into an incredible green space three times the size of Central Park.
At 2,200 acres, Freshkills will be the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years, and its environmental mission is illustrated in plans for ecological restoration, a showcase for sustainable strategies like methane harvesting from the buried waste, and possibly even renewable energy demonstrations complete with towering wind turbines.
The new park will have five main areas: Confluence, the cultural and recreational waterfront core of the park; North Park, a natural wildlife area with wetlands, meadows and creeks; South Park, with active recreation spaces like soccer fields, an equestrian facility and mountain biking paths; East Park, a scenic drive through the landscape, and West Park, where an ‘enormous earthwork monument’ is envisioned in remembrance of September 11th.
At its peak, Inhabitat reports, Fresh Kills Landfill received 29,000 tons of trash per day, hauled in on barges from New York City. The same mounds that were once nothing but smelly trash will now serve as grassy hills upon which visitors can picnic, and enjoy views of acre after acre of greenery and waterways. The full build-out will continue in phases for the next 30 years, with projects and facilities opening as they’re completed. The public can currently access the park on free bus tours, which are available between April and November.