The Big Apple is more than amazing skyscrapers built with leading edge architecture and technology. The man-made wonders of this city reach into to the depths of the earth and into the heart of nature. Instead of sitting back and basking in the unique contributions they have made to the world, New Yorkers continue to push the boundaries of the extraordinary.
Central Park is one of the greatest man-made developments in history and it was the first landscaped public park in the United States. Leave it to New York to take a swamp and rocky terrain and transform it into some of the most wonderful city park land in the world.
It took 3 million cubic yards of soil, more gunpowder than was used in the Battle of Gettysburg, the moving of 3 million cubic yards of soil, planting of 270,000 trees and shrubs and around 20,000 workers to make the park come to life. Even the water ways are purely designed and developed by man.
Hoffman Island and Swinburne Island are two more “natural” fixtures that were created by New Yorkers. In 1870, the city dumped tones of rock, sand and timbers into New York Harbor to construct the islands. Swinburne was used for a hospital to treat infectious diseases and Hoffman was used as quarantine for those who were exposed to the diseases by not showing symptoms.
Today, both of these islands are under the control of the US National Parks Service and are part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. They serve as sanctuaries for hundreds of waterfowl and are not open to humans.
Fresh Kills Landfill is a now-closed landfill on Staten Island. For 5 years, from 2001 to 2006, the City of New York worked one a master plan to transform the distraction into an attraction.
Leave it to New York to take trash and make it in to treasure. Fresh Kills landfill site is now home to four major habitats: breeding sites, foraging areas, freshwater marshes and wooded swamps. The 2,200 acre site is made up of four landfill mounds is being developed into an ecologically robust landscape and is one of the most ambitious projects for creating settings for recreation, public art, and facilities for sports and other programs.
There is so much wonder in New York and more is being added on the time. Right now, an art project is in the works that will erect 4 massive waterfalls through out the city (including one off of the Brooklyn Bridge). Although these masterpieces will only be around for a few months, most of the man-made wonders in New York are here to stay.