Freshkills Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Wild Avenue, Pearson Street, and Melvin Avenue, Staten Island, NY
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Schmul Park playground
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Arthur Kill

Schmul Park, the first parcel to open under the massive Freshkills Park project, offers a state-of-the-art playground, ball fields, gardens, and grassy areas for picnicking.

Flying kites is just one of the many activities to enjoy at Freshkills, one of the city's largest parks.
Photo by: iStock

Opened in 1947, Fresh Kills landfill eventually became the primary dump for New York City. In 2001, the landfill was closed and the work of turning it into Freshkills Park began. The 2,200-acre park project is one of the largest public works efforts in the United States and is scheduled to open in phases through 2036.

At the time of this writing, an overhauled Schmul Park, an 8-acre tract that traded a blacktop playground for thoroughly modern equipment, was on track to be the first area of Freshkills to open in spring 2012. This area will eventually serve as the pedestrian gateway to North Park, whose development was launched in 2011. The North Park design features miles of hiking and biking trails that have panoramic views of the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge tidal flats. It is one of five major components of Freshkills Park. South Park will have trails and athletic fields, East Park will have woodland walks, and West Park will feature a World Trade Center memorial—the landfill was briefly reopened to process debris from the September 11, 2001, attacks. The Confluence will form the center of Freshkills Park, offering kayaking, a visitor center, educational facilities, and restaurants.

Throughout the year, the Department of Parks and Recreation hosts free events so visitors can witness the birth of a park, join bird-watching tours, or hike, kayak, fly kites, and bike in the areas that are under development. It is an exceptional treat to be among the first Freshkills Park users to see, firsthand, the work it takes to convert a former industrial site into a stunning and multifaceted green space.

Remember: Before heading to Freshkills, contact the park office for an update on the restoration. For a list of upcoming tours and events, visit

Plan B:

A hike up Moses Mountain (Trip 58) ends with 360-degree views.

Where to Eat Nearby:

A number of restaurants are outside the Staten Island Mall, at Richmond Avenue and Ring Road.


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