Building a World Class Park Fresh Kills has the potential to become an international model of creative land reclamation that will transform how we experience vast, past industrial urban landscapes. New York City will build upon its history of creating large, ambitious parks.
For example, prior to the planting of trees at Central Park, the earth under the site had to be reshaped to accomodate infrastructure for the growing city - a reservoir, east-west roads, and a weather station. New earthwork also supported distinct activity areas within the park and created a variety of interesting topographic conditions intended to simulate the hilly terrain of the Hudson Valley. The soil at the Central Park site was inadequate to sustain the trees and shrubs that Richard Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux planned, so 500,000 cubic feet of topsoil was carted in from New Jersey to plant more than 4 million trees, shrubs, and plants, representing over 1,400 species that lay the foundation for what is today's Central Park.
Over time the planted trees grew taller and more lush. Some elements of the park design - bridal paths for horsedrawn carriages, for example - have changed with the times and have been converted for new uses, like rollerblading, that were never imagined when the designers laid out the park. This is the nature of landscape, of parkland.
Like Central Park, Fresh Kills will be the result of a long-term, transformative process.
photo courtesy New York City Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Waste Disposal