From 'Fresh Kills' to 'Freshkills'

On Sunday, October 3 I visited theĀ Freshkills Park site on Staten Island. It took 2.5 hours of transit to get there from the East Village, including subway, Staten Island Ferry, the S62 bus and, finally, a shuttle bus provided by the park. Kind of a pain to get there, but by the time the park opens I’m sure that part will be figured out.

Freshkills is an NYC park, but feels worlds away from Prospect Park or Central Park – and with good cause, because Freshkills Park was once the Fresh Kills Landfill. Once complete, Freshkills will cover 2,200 acres and will be the largest of New York City’s parks, almost three times the size of Central Park.

There’s lots of history beneath your feet in Freshkills Park. Beneath the park’s four hills are 150 million tons of garbage, much of which was collected from New York residences between 1948 and 2001. There’s a good chance that my grandparents’ trash is in there somewhere, alongside the trash of all the other New Yorkers (and those who visited) between those years. To add to the park’s history, materials from the World Trade Center site were also disposed of at the Fresh Kills Landfill.

One of the park planners led our tour up the North Hill and discussed the plans for the park’s development, as well as how the landfill gas and leachate emitted by the decomposing trash are being recovered and processed.

I loved hearing about the place’s past, and really look forward to seeing how it comes together in the next 20 years or so – by which point we’ll hopefully be able to teleport ourselves there from Manhattan.

Below are some pictures from the open day at Freshkills Park. Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

 

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