A Look at 10 of the New Parks of the Past 50 Years

We've opened more than 200 new parks over the past fifty years, making NYC Parks the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land! Before they became public green spaces, many of our newest parks used to be vacant lots or industrial areas. By transforming these sites into thriving parks, we've continued to help make New York City greener.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, take a look at some of the parks we've created since 1970:

Blue Heron Park, Staten Island

A footbridge spans a pond filled with lily pads and ends at a trail into a deep, lush green forest.Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Once a dumping ground, Staten Island residents spent more than 30 years working to restore this park to nature and to preserve and protect the land. Officially opened in 1996, this park is now a beautiful, lush nature preserve with hiking trails, lush green trees, and footbridges that take you past ponds that birds love. Learn more about Blue Heron Park

Brookfield Park, Staten Island 

A path leads through hills covered by grassland. In the background is an even larger hill featuring a view of a lighthousePhoto by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Brookfield Park has gone from a toxic blight to a beautiful natural area with plenty of walking trails and paths for intrepid city travelers. The park was once the site of Brookfield Landfill, a municipal solid waste facility that needed tons of care to make safe for plants, animals, and people. The extensive remediation included installing a concrete wall, collection systems, and a protective barrier underneath a layer of soil four feet deep. The park's unique landscape now attracts a wide variety of birds and other animals, making it an increasingly popular destination for photographers, birdwatchers, and visitors looking to explore. Parks celebrated its 30,000th-acre milestone when the park officially opened to the public in 2017. Learn more about Brookfield Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn

A path winds along benches that look out to a garden on a pier that features a view of the Lower Manhattan skylinePhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Over the past 50 years, many of our industrial waterfronts, including the DUMBO waterfront here, were transformed into parks. The six piers at what is now Brooklyn Bridge Park were once home to the Port Authority's cargo operations. Years of planning and advocacy led to the park's opening in 2010. Today, playgrounds, basketball courts, a mini beach, a soccer field, and miles of pathways that offer serene views of the New York Harbor, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Lower Manhattan Skyline. Learn more about Brooklyn Bridge Park

Bush Terminal Park, Brooklyn

From a hill above the marsh area, one can look out to the New York Harbor and the Lower Manhattan skylinePhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Once a toxic landfill, Bush Terminal Piers Park is another example of waterfront reclamation. Local environmental groups in Sunset Park and nearby neighborhoods advocated for the restoration of this site for years. After a long period of rehabilitation, the City's Economic Development Corporation completed the project in 2014, and turned it over to NYC Parks to manage. This park is now home to some of the city's most breathtaking views of lower Manhattan and the New York harbor. Learn more about Bush Terminal Piers Park

Chelsea Green, Manhattan

Kids and their parents play and hang out at the playground are flanked by apartment buildingsPhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

In 2019, we opened the first community park in Chelsea in 40 years! Another triumph of reclamation and community advocacy, this area was a longstanding New York Department of Sanitation parking lot. After falling into disuse, NYC Parks joined local leaders and community activists to work together to build the "West 20th Street Park." This site is now home to an instantly beloved playground, as well as a lawn designed for performance and art that befits this creative community. Learn more about Chelsea Green

Concrete Plant Park, Bronx

A promenade leads past the Bronx River on the left and red upright cylindrical structures that once was a concrete plantPhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

For nearly 30 years, an abandoned concrete plant stood as a herald of the Bronx River's industrial past and a landmark to drivers on the Bruckner Expressway. As the Bronx River sprung to life, a series of parks opened up along its shores, creating a waterfront chain of parks that rivals any in the city. Concrete Plant Park is one of the highlights, adapting and reusing the old concrete plant while opening up the space to bicyclists, fishers, kayakers, and people looking for a quiet space near the water. In the midst of the park is the Bronx River Foodway, a project to demonstrate growing sustainable food and re-envisioning how to use the land. Learn more about Concrete Plant Park

The High Line, Manhattan

A path in a park in the sky takes guests past a resting area and a garden where a railroad once wasPhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

One of New York City's signature public spaces, the High Line greets millions of visitors each year, and connects the West Village to Midtown. The site that became the High Line was once a freight rail line carrying millions of tons of cargo through New York City until its closure in 1980. Left fallow for years, the rails were reclaimed by nature. Seeing this nature in action, community activists began working to prevent its demolition and to re-open the structure as a park. The park was an immediate success after the opening of its first section in 2009, as it instantly became known for its blending of industry and nature. Completed in 2014, the park now stands as a beloved tourist destination and an art and performance space that New Yorkers return to again and again. Learn more about the High Line

Hunter's Point South Park, Queens

Acres of grassland and winding pathways line a waterfront that looks out to the Midtown SkylinePhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

This once-contaminated dumping ground is now one of the city's most spectacular and sustainable open spaces. Upon its opening in 2013, Hunter's Point South Park became an immediate destination, known for its active recreation, performances, and spectacular views of the city. The park is also designed to withstand the effects of climate change, with bulkheads and riprap protecting the park from potential flooding from the East River. A second phase of the park, completed in 2019, added a scenic overlook structure and Luminescence, a work by artist Nobuho Nagasawa that reflects the phases of the moon. Learn more about Hunter's Point South Park

Sunset Cove Park, Queens

From the newly planted marsh grass and a large enclosed by a fence you can enjoy a stunning sunset on the waterPhoto by Adrian Sas/NYC Parks

One of the city's newest parks can be found on Broad Channel, an island community in Jamaica Bay. This park was once the site of a marina. Abandoned for over a decade, the city removed nearly 30,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, and returned the site to the public as a salt marsh and natural habitat for birds, and a site to protect Broad Channel residents from flooding or other impacts of climate change. A walking trail provides neighborhood residents and visitors the chance to interact with this wild and wonderful natural area. Learn more about Sunset Cove Park

Yolanda García Park, Bronx

A path winds through a garden and lawn area in a new parkPhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Yolanda García Park is both a beautifully restored space and a tribute to one of the city's most ardent environmental activists. Yolanda García was a community leader who founded the Nos Quedamos/We Stay coalition to create more affordable housing and open space in Melrose Commons. Although she did not live to see the park's opening in 2019, the park is a tribute to the work of her and fellow environmentalists and activists. Visitors to the park can enjoy its accessible play areas, the opportunities for adult fitness and recreation, and the lush green lawns for relaxation and enjoyment. Learn more about Yolanda Garcia Park

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