How the world’s largest landfill became New York’s biggest new park

Karrie Jacobs walks in Fresh Kills Park. It was  composed entirely of garbage, the municipal solid waste generated by the people of New York City for 53 years, from 1948 to 2001. With my yogurt containers, my paper towels, and my Baggies—and the help of eight million fellow New Yorkers—I built this hill.

Fresh Kills (“Kill” comes from a Dutch word for waterway), by the time it was finally closed in 2001, was New York City’s last functioning landfill. We now bury our garbage in neighboring states and haul some of it to a plant in New Jersey that burns it to generate power.