Day 144

A hill of mystery and intrigue

May 22nd, 2012

I have long been perplexed by this artificial-looking hill north of 19th Avenue in eastern Astoria, just west of the Rikers Island Bridge. It's the fairly large (15 acres or so) treed area visible here, and you can see its topography, quite striking in this otherwise flat area, here.

It's owned by the Port Authority, according to numerous "No Trespassing" signs posted on the fence that surrounds it. Much of LaGuardia Airport, operated by the Port Authority and sitting just across Bowery Bay, was constructed on landfill from Rikers Island; maybe this was an intermediate site where dirt was stored after being transported from Rikers. Or perhaps this was once a landfill itself — this map makes it look like that may be the case.

The possibilities are many, but possibilities don't pay the bills. Or something like that. For the time being, the true origin of this little mountain remains shrouded in a mist of maybes.

UPDATE: The this-was-a-landfill hypothesis has taken the lead! (See comments below.)

UPDATE: I received an email from a current Port Authority employee saying that this hill is known internally as Ingram's Mountain, and that it was supposedly created from the rock excavated during the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel's third tube.


  1. tom says:

    a little bit of forest in queens…if i were a woodchuck Id be scared that someone might be out trying to hunt me in these ‘woods’.

  2. Mike says:

    Forgotten NY says:
    “A dense hilltop occupies a 5-block parcel owned by the Port Authority. A former landfill, the waterfront forest blocks views of Rikers Island. The area is part of an industrial business zone, off-limits to condo developers for now.”

  3. Dory says:

    This reminds me of “Moses’ Mountain” in the Greenbelt in Staten Island – made of debris from a Robert Moses highway project that never got built -one of the battles he lost to locals who preferred their natural areas park to a highway….. is the Greenbelt’s website and there’s a map etc.

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