Massive NYC landfill-to-park project hits a milestone; first section opens to the public



Efforts to turn what was once the largest landfill site in the world into a public park hit a milestone Sunday with the opening of the first section open to the public, New York City officials said.

The 21-acre (8.5-hectare) North Park section of what has become Freshkills Park includes pedestrian and cycling paths, an overlook deck, bird viewing tower and composting restroom that uses no water.

The 2,200-acre (890-hectare) Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was once the largest landfill site in the world. For five decades after its opening in 1948, it was the principal landfill for New York City’s garbage. The last barge of regular trash was delivered in 2001 when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani closed the site, partly in response to Staten Island residents who had complained about being the city’s dumping ground.

“This transformational project will serve as a model for land reuse projects around the world,” New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said, “and a shining example of how restoring habitats can benefit wildlife in urban areas.”

Construction on Freshkills Park began in 2008 and is expected to be completed in 2036.

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