A Sneak Peek at Staten Island's Freshkills Park

Park goers came to bike ride, bird watch and be transported into nature in what was once the site of world's largest garbage dump

By Jonathan Vigliotti
|  Monday, Sep 24, 2012  |  Updated 6:42 AM EDT
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The park on Staten Island used to be the site of a massive garbage dump. But, now it's getting a major makeover. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

NBC New York

The park on Staten Island used to be the site of a massive garbage dump. But, now it's getting a major makeover. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

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Rolling fields and meandering rivers attracted hundreds to a sneak peek at Staten Island's Freshkills Park Sunday afternoon.

"It's beautiful and I'm imagining that in the future it's going to be even more beautiful," said Staten Island resident Dawn Russel.

Park goers came to bike ride, bird watch and be transported into nature -- while still having an incredible view of the city -- in what was once the site of world's largest garbage dump.

"I'm standing up here and I don't smell anything," said Staten Island resident Richie Ignazio. "Everybody should experience this, it's unbelievable."

The Freshkills Landfill first opened in the 1950's and closed in 2001. It was used as a holding site for 9/11 debris and gained national attention after families of 9/11 victims said human remains were disposed there.

The development of the park marks a new chapter for the site, but as Eloise Hirsh with the parks department explained, the transformation still has a long way to go.

"When people see that and understand its potential then they will continue to support the kind of investment that it is going to take to make it into this fantastic park," Hirsch said.

The $90 million project will officially open in phases starting in two years and is expected to take 25-years to complete. At 2,200 acres it will be larger than Central Park and include a 9/11 monument.

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