Senator Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve
- Kayak Launch
Hours of Operation
- January to February: 7 am to 4:30 pm
- March: 7 am to 5:30 pm
- April: 7 am to 6:30 pm
- May to August: 7 am to 7:30 pm
- September: 7 am to 6:30 pm
- October: 7 am to 5:30 pm
- November to December: 7 am to 4:30 pm
The Levy Park and Preserve is subject to unscheduled closure during times of inclement weather.
The park is closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
The park is open on July 4th, Independence Day, from 7 am to 4:30 pm.
From the Meadowbrook Parkway use Merrick Road M9 East exit. Enter the Department of Sanitation entrance on right. Follow signs to Levy Park and Preserve parking lot.
History & Overview
Dedicated to the memory of the late New York State Sen. Norman J. Levy, a Merrick resident and a champion for the environment, Levy Park and Preserve opened to the public on October 22, 2000. This award-winning Town of Hempstead preserve serves as a plant and wildlife sanctuary, as well as a tranquil respite for residents.
The conversion of the former Merrick Landfill into the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve not only epitomizes the town's commitment to environmental conservation but saved Hempstead Town taxpayers more than $42 million. The innovative $15 million park plan is substantially less expensive than the $57 million capping closure plan originally required of the town by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Located alongside the Meadowbrook Parkway, the park and preserve's most visible symbol is the windmill (situated on the north side of the facility), which is used to circulate the water in the two man-made ponds that provide a fresh-water habitat for wildlife. An exciting feature of the park is the kayak launch into the original Meadow Brook. The site also includes three miles of hiking and jogging trails with exercise stations along the trails.
The preserve's highest point of 155-feet produces tremendous views of the Jones Beach Tower, the New York City skyline, and numerous coastal treasures. The 52-acre facility also features a 500-foot fishing pier into Merrick Bay. The pier's decking is constructed of Cumaru, a hardwood from Peru. This extremely durable wood is harvested in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition to its aesthetic qualities, Cumaru is very strong, resists splintering, and contains no preservatives. The fishing pier provides a great opportunity to try your luck at catching the various fish that fill Merrick Bay each season.
In places where disturbance of nature was necessary to cap the landfill, the Town of Hempstead developed woodland and prairie plant communities, similar to the Hempstead Plains, to attract different types of birds. Black locust, poplar, white birch, and red cedar are among the types of trees you will find at Levy Park and Preserve. Additionally, wildlife such as turtles, snakes, and foxes are thriving. The preserve features a herd of Nigerian dwarf goats, which the town employs as an ecologically sensitive method of controlling weed and brush overgrowth. The goats are the pets-workers-employees to complement the ecological mission of the landfill-turned-nature preserve.
The kayak launch is available for use during normal hours of operation. Patrons wishing to kayak may bring their own kayak and supplies to launch from the area in the park on the Meadow Brook which empties into Merrick Bay. The brook is tidal, therefore patrons should be aware of high tide times. The brook is safe to navigate for 3 hours on either side of high tide. High tide tables are available in brochure boxes at the park entrance and outside the ranger station for reference.
The best way to learn about this beautiful parkland is to see it in person. Visitors can obtain an up-close appreciation for the vast array of wildlife the south shore has to offer including foxes, turtles, and various types of birds, fish, trees, and wildflowers.