Located on the northern shore of Brooklyn’s Jamaica Bay, Shirley Chisholm State Park covers two peninsulas totaling 407 acres, which makes it the largest state park in New York City. Sprawling across two former landfills capped with up to four feet of clean soil, the park helps reconnect the historically underserved neighborhood of East New York to the water.

Ten miles of gravel trails lead visitors through the landscape, which consists of wildflower meadows, native grasslands, and stands of trees. A repurposed pier has become a popular spot to cast a line and picnic, while beaches allow for wading and shoreline exploration.

Elevations of up to 130 feet provide views of the Manhattan skyline to the northwest and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. The completion of Phase 1 in the summer of 2019 transformed the landfill into a park with easily identifiable and welcoming gateways, convenient water access, and plenty of space for recreation and relaxation.

With the second and final phase completed in 2021, the park offers two free bike-share stations, dedicated areas for food trucks, pop-up education centers, and furniture—some designed by MVVA—that creates gathering places. Invasive species management along the shoreline was a critical element of the scope, which allows native coastal plants to take hold in order to expand habitat and increase resiliency, preserving the park for future generations.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

LOCATION Brooklyn, New York

YEAR 2021

SIZE 407 acres

CLIENT New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation


WSP USA (Civil and Structural Engineering)
Ecology and Environment, Inc. (Environmental Consultant)


2022 ASLA Urban Design Honor Award

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