Construction Nears Completion at North Park Phase 1
On a balmy day in January (40 degrees and sunny) several Freshkills Park staff visited North Park Phase 1 to observe the progress and watch the erection of the bird tower. Thanks to one amateur photographer, we can bring you behind the construction in the video below. It has been some time since we reported on North Park Phase 1 and so by way of background, it is the first park project to be built within the boundary of the former Fresh Kills landfill. It was designed by James Corner Field Operations, who also prepared the draft Master Plan for Freshkills Park and designed the Highline. Construction is currently scheduled for completion in April 2022.
In response to its history as a former landfill and the environmental degradation associated with that use, North Park Phase 1 prioritizes sustainable features and activities. A central feature of the park is a gently curving pedestrian and cycling path that climbs from the parking lot to the top of a hill and descends again towards the wetlands and sweeping views of Main Creek. The entry drive and parking lot are just off the intersection of Wild Avenue and the East Service Road. Our tour, and the video, start at the front entrance where the entry road is still under construction and one can see a small portion of the parking lot as well. The parking lot is equipped with bike racks and a bike repair station to support the use of alternative transportation and recreational usage. There is also a photovoltaic structure in the parking area that will power the parking lot lights. Continuing the tour (and in the video), we left the parking lot, along the arc path, and observed huge piles of soil that are integral to creating the new topography at this park. Over 150,000 cubic yards of fill have been imported to the site to ensure a two-foot cover over the existing landfill cover materials.
As one climbs to the top of the arc path, in addition to extraordinary views, there is a composting comfort station that uses no water. It is entirely self-contained. A photovoltaic panel on the roof provides energy for lights and exhaust fans and wastes are broken down into compost by aerobic decomposition in the tanks below ground. Nearby benches have been made with recycled materials. Next, one can see the foundation for the comfort station (see the concrete foundation in the video) and the rest of the comfort station was installed a week later (see photo below).
The arc path sweeps to the right (or south) through a newly planted forest of native evergreens and deciduous trees, and from there past a picnic area to the wetland observation deck. The gratings and the railings on the observation deck were recently completed and we were able to walk out on the deck and take in the expansive view of the creeks. From the deck we could also watch the enormous crane in the process of erecting the bird tower. It is an exacting process with highly skilled crane operators and construction workers maneuvering large pieces of steel into place and as you watch the video, you can see one of the columns of the bird tower being erected. You will also see views of Main Creek and the newly planted slopes of the eastern end of the park, the slopes will be filled with a tidal scrub shrub mix of groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia) northern bayberry (Morella pensylvanica) and beach plum (Prunus maritima) among other tidal wetland species.
Construction is scheduled to be complete in April and following that, DPR and its construction supervision firm, Arcadis, will be compiling a Construction Certification Report (CCR) and a Site Management Plan. The CCR describes in great detail all of the construction completed as part of North Park Phase 1 and the SMP describes the maintenance and operation activities that DPR will undertake within the new park. Both of these reports must be reviewed and approved by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
We look forward to welcoming you to the park soon.
Learn more about the Park Process and explore North Park Updates here.
North Park Construction Updates
+ North Park Construction Tour (2020)
+ North Park Coming Spring 2022 (2020)
+ The “Dirt” on Soil at North Park (2020)
+ North Park Construction Continues with Foundations for Signature Structures (2019)
+ Bulldozers on the Future Bike Path at North Park (2018)
+ NYC Parks and DSNY Break Ground on North Park (2017)
+ North Park is in Construction (2017)
+ North Park is in Procurement (2016)
+ North Park Public Presentation PDF (2008)