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North Park at Freshkills Park

Field Operations

Staten Island, New York, United States

October 2023


Brooke Dexter (Director of Communications)


Jacobs (Structural Engineer), Langan (Civil Engineer), Dagher Engineering (Electrical Engineer), Geosyntec (Geotechnical Engineer), Wkshps (Signage Designer


New York City Department of Parks & Recreation


Mona Miri


Opened in 2023, the 21-acre first phase of North Park offers new community amenities and opportunities for recreation, education, and a renewed connection with nature for New York City. North Park’s newly designed entrance and dramatically curving pathway into the heart of the northeastern area of Freshkills Park brings visitors along the base of the north landfill mound to an overlook with spectacular views of the Main Creek wetlands and the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. The “arc” is designed as an engineered earthwork, curving gently in both profile and plan to dramatize the visitor’s journey from the neighborhood to the serene tranquility of the wildlife refuge. The visitor slowly ascends to the new horizon of the interior preserve and then drops down to an overlook and park area.

Featuring a new entrance and parking lot for visitors arriving from Wild Avenue and a second entry point for neighbors entering near Schmul Park, this first phase of the 240-acre North Park features divided walking and high-speed paths. Entering from Wild Ave and moving northeast along the arc, visitors pass through an allee of trees and flowering swales toward a plateau with sumac trees and an expansive picnic lawn. A composting public restroom building powered by PV panels on the roof is centrally located at the path’s juncture with the Schmul Path, near the Basin View Platform. Just beyond the picnic lawn, visitors reach the Overlook Deck and the signature Bird Tower at the water’s edge.


Once the world’s largest landfill and closed in 2001, Fresh Kills included five massive landfill mounds across 2,200 acres on the west side of Staten Island in New York. Through an international design competition, Field Operations was selected to develop a master plan that would guide the transformation of the landfill into a regional park and green open space over the course of 30 years. Since the closure of Fresh Kills Landfill, the landscape has been engineered with layers of soil and infrastructure, and the area has become a place for wildlife, recreation, science, education, and art.

The park is owned by the City of New York and managed by the Department of Sanitation, with specific sections transferred to the NYC Parks as projects are developed. As an ongoing collaboration between these departments, as well as several New York City and State agencies including Transportation and Environmental Conservation, the project is a massive interagency undertaking.

The park is being built in phases and is scheduled to be completed in 2036. The North Park Wetland Restoration project was completed in 2011, followed by the opening of Schmul Park in 2012, Owl Hollow Soccer Fields in 2013, the new Springville Greenway in 2015, and the first phase of North Park in 2023. As these phases open to the public, each section of the park continues to reveal the fascinating history and ecology of Staten Island.


North Park represents a significant milestone in the transformation of Freshkills Park. Marking 22 years since the park’s initial master plan, it demonstrates how a park can be “grown” over time through the cultivation of natural processes, fostering a biodiverse ecosystem that will create habitat and promote wilding within the constraints of landfill infrastructure.

Future phases of Freshkills Park will coalesce into over 750 acres of open space for active and passive recreation, public events, and miles of trails. The unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty integrates restored creeks, wetlands, expansive meadows, and habitat for wildlife, all with the backdrop of spectacular vistas of New York City. The park features engineered structures that produce energy from solar panels and methane gas release, along with composting toilets. Freshkills Park offers a unique opportunity to learn about the active process of transforming a landfill into parkland, while reclaiming many acres of natural habitat and restored ecosystems.

“The opening of Freshkills Park is a major milestone for NYC Parks, which works each and every day to broaden parks equity to all five boroughs,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This transformational project will serve as a model for land reuse projects around the world and a shining example of how restoring habitats can benefit wildlife in urban areas. We are thrilled to welcome the residents of Staten Island and beyond to take in the beautiful wildlife and scenery and enjoy all that North Park has to offer.”

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