This place pictured above satisfies most conventional definitions of wilderness: you're very unlikely to see another human here, and it hosts a huge spectrum of wildlife habitat, from the wetlands in the foreground to the open meadows on the hill behind.
Where is it? The Sierran foothills of California? Pastureland in Vermont? Texas hill country? Nope - these acres are within the boundaries of the nation's largest city. This is what remains of Fresh Kills landfill, the site where New York tossed its late-20th-century garbage.
Hiking and picnics are strictly forbidden here, thus the absence of people. But in spite of the heavy metals and other toxics that leach from the buried garbage into the water, the salt marshes of Fresh Kills still attract a remarkable amount of wildlife, and the savannah-like hillsides are a welcome refuge for a number of other critters.
Over the next 30 years, New York City plans to turn Fresh Kills into a fully public park, 3 times the size of Central Park. The household garbage underground will probably leach poisons into the surrounding marshes for millennia to come, but don't let that keep you from taking a pleasant paddle among the man-made hills...
Click here for a satellite view of the landfill/salt marsh
Fresh Kills Master Plan: NYC Dept. of Planning