10. Fresh Kills Landfill is Built on Wetlands

Overhead view of Freshkills Park
Image courtesy The City of New York and Freshkills Park 

Before landfilling began at Fresh Kills, the site was much like the rest of northwest Staten Island, comprised primarily of tidal creeks and coastal marsh. In fact, the name “Fresh Kills” comes from the Middle Dutch word kille, meaning “riverbed” or “water channel.”

“The topography was low-lying, with a subsoil of clay and soils of sand and silt. The remainder of the area was originally farmland, either actively farmed, or abandoned and in stages of succession,” an NYC.gov report notes. Even during its lifespan as a city landfill, forests, tidal wetlands and freshwater wetlands existed. However, people did not realize the ecological value of these habitats at the time, and it was common practice to fill in marshlands across New York City.

Next, check out 10 Man-Made Areas of NYC and learn more about the First Park Section Inside Freshkills.