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September 11

2001 – 2002: September 11 Recovery Effort

During the 10–month recovery effort after September 11, rescue workers carefully screened and sifted the 1.2 million tons of material that came from the World Trade Center site to Fresh Kills. The search effort did not end until all discernible materials and effects were removed and taken to the New York City Medical Examiner’s office for identification and safekeeping.

After the FBI, NYPD, and Office of Emergency Management determined the process of retrieval had been exhaustive and complete, the screened and sifted WTC materials remaining at Fresh Kills were placed in a 48–acre area immediately adjacent to the recovery site on the West Mound at Fresh Kills. A layer of clean soil at least 1 foot deep was placed in this area prior to placement of the screened materials; afterward it was covered with additional clean soil to protect the site.

Photo by Michael Falco.

Fresh Kills Competition

2001: Design Competition

To take advantage of the potential for the adaptive end use of this unique site, the City of New York, in association with the Municipal Art Society, New York State Department of State, New York City Department of Sanitation, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, conducted an International Design Competition to foster the development of a master plan for Freshkills Park. The goal was to attract the best talent, worldwide, to generate ideas and innovative park designs that would meet the needs of the City’s communities, and respond to the natural and constructed history of the site.

On September 5th 2001, The City of New York announced the start of the International Design Competition. Read about the planning process.

Image: NYC Department of City Planning.

Guy Molinari

1996: Staten Island BP Molinari Files Lawsuit

Alleging Clean Air Act violations, the suit was the culmination of a decades-long effort to close Fresh Kills Landfill.

Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari filed the lawsuit against the Mayor of the City of New York, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation, Governor of the State of New York, and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Image: “The Fresh Kills Story: From World’s Largest Garbage Dump to a World-Class Park.”

Isle of Meadows, Fresh Kills, 5.21.1933

Before 1948: Fresh Kills

The Fresh Kills site in its natural state was primarily tidal creeks and coastal marsh. The name “Fresh Kills” comes from the Middle Dutch word kille, meaning “riverbed” or “water channel.” In the early 1900s it was a stream and freshwater estuary in the western portion of the New York City borough of Staten Island.

Image: Isle of Meadows, Fresh Kills, 1933, via the Staten Island Museum.