Discovering Freshkills Park On September 18

Walking tour with NYC Audubon. (Photo: Malcolm Pinckney, NYC Parks)

Walking tour with NYC Audubon. (Photo: Malcolm Pinckney, NYC Parks)

Freshkills Park remains closed to the public for most of the year while the project is under development. NYC Parks and the Freshkills Park Alliance work hard to offer as many ways to experience the Park as possible during this time, but we know nothing is quite like being inside the gates witnessing the landfill-to-park transformation firsthand.

On September 18th, we’ll open 700 acres of the park from 11 am to 4 pm for our final Discovery Day event of the year. During this event, you can learn about the landfill-to-park project, get a taste of recreational opportunities the future park will provide, explore the wetland and grassland ecology, and hear about the history of the site from local experts.

Thanks to program partners, sponsors and collaborators there will be many different activities to enhance your park visit on Discovery Day. Here are a few things not to miss:


Feel free to bring your own bikes and take a ride on five miles of paved paths, including a three mile loop along meadows and wetland ponds. If you don’t have a bike, the Freshkills Park Alliance will have some to rent (for free!) for an hour at a time.

Walking and Hiking

Several miles of paved and gravel paths will be open for walking and hiking. You can bring your dog on a leash, but please use caution because there is limited shade at Freshkills Park and dogs are not allowed to ride shuttle buses. Our most popular walk is a mile up to the top of a hill where panoramic views of Staten Island and lower Manhattan await. We encourage photographers to come out and capture the Park’s one-of-a-kind landscape.

Park Tours

From birding to engineering, local experts will help you discover the many unique facets of Freshkills Park.

  • NYC Audubon will offer free guided bird walks to see how restoration efforts have helped wildlife come back to the site. Be on the lookout for osprey, herons and egrets!
  • Robin Geller, NYC Sanitation Program Manager for End-Use Development, will lead a landfill engineering tour that gives visitors a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of closing a landfill.
  • NYC ZeroWaste is organizing an Instameet at the park during the event. Freshkills Park staff will lead an educational tour of the park as participants take photos and share on Instagram.
  • Artists Eva Neves will lead a bookmaking activity and drawing tours. Don’t worry about bringing your own supplies; we’ll have all the materials ready for you.

Games and Activities

We’ll have games and activities for kids of all ages. Make and fly a kite on the top of a scenic hill, or play an educational game with Urban Park Rangers. Kids can play games set up by the NYC Parks Mobile Recreation Van, learn about composting with NYC Compost Project, or explore Freshkills Park’s very own Mobile Education Lab. Food trucks and vendors will also be available at the event activity hub.

Getting to Discovery Day

You may be thinking—Discovery Day sounds great, but where is Freshkills Park? Is it far away and how can I get there?  Freshkills Park is on the western shore of Staten Island.  Discovery Day will be easily accessible by car and public transportation.

Cars and Parking

The entrance to the Park on Discovery Day will be at Wild Avenue. Since Freshkills Park is not yet open to the public on a regular basis, Google Maps does not have accurate directions to Freshkills Park, but you can use 350 Wild Avenue in Staten Island as your destination. Parking will be available in the lots nearby. From there, visitors can take a shuttle into the park, or walk or bike one mile to the event activity hub.

Public Transportation

During the event, free shuttles will take visitors from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to Freshkills Park. Shuttles will depart at 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, and 2:00. On the weekend, the ferry runs every half hour between Manhattan and Staten Island. Once the Ferry has arrived at the St. George Terminal in Staten Island, go to Ramp E (Taxi Stand) to get on a free shuttle bus. The shuttle is a school bus, and the ride to Freshkills Park will take approximately 30 minutes. Bikes are allowed on the shuttle buses as long as there is space. Shuttle buses will also be available to take visitors back to the Ferry Terminal.

Visiting the Park

Discovery Day will take place in sections of Freshkills Park that have been fully capped and are safe for public use. To learn more about the capping process, and how capping makes landfills safe for park use, please follow this link.

Freshkills Park is incredibly big. In many ways, your trip will be similar to spending the day in a State or National Park. Please dress for the weather—including hats, sunscreen, and bug spray and bring water. As the park is still being developed, comfort stations have not been constructed. Port-a-potties and a shade station will be available. Alcohol is not allowed inside the Park.

SAVE THE DATE: September 18th, 11am-4pm

Discovery Day is presented by the Freshkills Park Alliance, NYC Parks, and NYC Sanitation with support from Pratt Industries, Northwell Health, and the College of Staten Island. For more information join the mailing list and follow @freshkillspark on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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