Gallery: Staten Island’s Freshkills Park Doubled as a Giant Sponge Duri...

The former Freshkills landfill is gearing up to open as a lush park for Staten Island, but one of its other benefits also emerged recently. After Hurricane Sandy tore through the five boroughs, the park demonstrated another important use - as a giant storm surge sponge. Although Staten Island suffered debilitating damage from the flooding, the extent of the wreckage would have been way worse were it not for Freshkills' absorption of some of the waters.

Thanks to the incredible amounts of storm surge that were diverted into the grasslands of Freshkills Park, many Staten Island neighborhoods were spared, namely Travis, Bulls Head, New Springville and Arden Heights. The 2,200 acre park absorbed so much water that city planners are looking into how the park’s grasses, soil and wetland buffers could be a model for flood prevention in future storms. The price tag of hundreds of millions of dollars to implement such a solution doesn’t seem so hefty when compared to the estimated $600 million that may be needed to restore the Sandy-flooded South Ferry subway station.

The land reclamation project that transformed the landfill into Freshkills Park has yet to open, but has hosted three sneak peak weekends. Now, the ultimate transformative project – from landfill to glorious park – can also add storm surge protector to its resume.

Via NY Times

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