Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park Opens
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg opened a new, 5.5-acre waterfront park and several new roadways at the site of the Hunter’s Point South development in Long Island City on August 28. Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park will transform a previously abandoned post-industrial area into a dynamic site for recreation along the East River with views of the Manhattan skyline.
Designed as a neighborhood amenity and a destination for New Yorkers across the five boroughs as well as visitors, the park integrates new infrastructure, landscape and architectural design into the creation of an open waterfront. The park includes a central green, a playground, a waterside promenade and additional recreation space, as well as a 13,000-square-foot pavilion housing comfort stations, concessions, an elevated café plaza, and a maintenance facility for the Department of Parks and Recreation. The park is an integral part of Phase 1 of the Hunter’s Point South project, the creation of a new mixed-use neighborhood that includes affordable housing, retail, open space and a new public school situated on approximately 30 acres of prime waterfront property. When the entire multiphase Hunter’s Point South development project is complete, it will encompass approximately 5,000 new units of housing, with a minimum of 60 percent being affordable, making it the largest new, affordable housing complex to be built in New York City since the 1970s. The mayor was joined at the announcement by Parks and Recreation Commissioner Veronica M. White, city Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, state Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
State Senator Michael Gianaris with Bloomberg, Van Bramer, Grodenchik, Kimball and Maloney. State Senator Michael Gianaris with Bloomberg, Van Bramer, Grodenchik, Kimball and Maloney. “Opening up more of our city’s waterfront for public enjoyment has been a top priority for this Administration,” said Bloomberg. “Around the city, we’ve reclaimed abandoned or neglected parts of our waterfront, and turned them into innovative open spaces. I know that Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park will quickly join the list of beloved green spaces along our city’s shores.”
“The opening of the Hunter’s Point South Park marks a milestone in our city’s commitment toward expanding green space for New Yorkers,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “For decades to come future generations of Long Island City residents and Queens park goers will be able to enjoy the panoramic views of New York City’s skyline on 5.5 acres of parkland that have never existed before. I am proud to have secured $320,000 in funding to help make this additional green space a reality for the residents of Western Queens. The opening of Hunter’s Point South Park, a park that will rival any other throughout our city, helps establish Long Island City’s prominence as one of the New York’s top destinations for decades to come.”
Construction of the Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park project – as well as the roadways design and construction – was led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The park, which also features an adult fitness area, a dog run, a garden that incorporates historic rail tracks on the site with vegetation, and a small beach, is operated and maintained by the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
The project has led to the creation of 3,400 linear feet of new roadways that are now open to the public. In addition, significant new infrastructure and improvements to existing infrastructure were constructed in order to support both the park and future elements of Hunter’s Point South, including water mains, storm and sanitary sewers, street lighting and traffic signals. A new public school building – which will house a middle school, a high school, and a District 75 program – adjacent to the park site will be completed by the School Construction Authority and open for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The design was driven by a commitment to creating a vibrant recreational environment for New Yorkers and visitors while adhering to principles of sustainability. These include the pursuit of alternative transportation options, such as the inclusion of a Class 1 bikeway, introduction of bio-filtration swales along the length of the park, extensive planting of native species of grasses and trees, use of environmentally sustainable wood, the remediation of formerly contaminated industrial areas, and the solar orientation of site and buildings to optimize passive heating and cooling, and solar energy generation.
In order to ensure that the park is prepared for the impacts of climate change, the design allowed for a significant augmentation of the shoreline, employing bulkheads and riprap to better withstand the possibility of future flooding from the East River.
Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, the roadways and related infrastructure were built at a total cost of $66 million, financed primarily by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The Federal Highways Administration provided $1.56 million for roadway development (administered through the New York state Department of Transportation), and the City Council (Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer) provided $320,000 for natural turf in the park.
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney said, “I am thrilled to join Mayor Bloomberg, my colleagues and residents of Western Queens to celebrate the creation of a new park along the waterfront. This dynamic new park and urban beach will become a must-see destination for New Yorkers and tourists seeking a unique experience. It’s a truly welcome addition for our community.
Maloney continued, “I congratulate Mayor Bloomberg for all that he is doing to develop our waterfront. Hunter’s Point South is an exciting green space that will serve as a backyard for residents of the new affordable housing being built across the street, a play space for the children who will be going to school in the brand new school down the block – and, with a renovated East River Ferry dock, it will be a destination point for New Yorkers and tourists looking for a great place to hang out – just as Gantry State Park is now.”
Maloney supported efforts for the $1.56 million Federal Highway Administration grant, and also helped secure $3.6 million in federal funding for the East River Ferry Dock.
“The opening of Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park is another step forward in the revitalization of Queens’ East River waterfront,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “This beautiful 5.5 acre jewel of a public space will offer breathtaking views and valuable amenities both to current residents of the area, as well as to those who will be moving into the neighborhood as the rest of the Hunter’s Point South development project moves along. I commend Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration and everyone involved in the Hunter’s Point South project for helping to make this wonderful new park a reality.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris said “Long Island City is the most exciting neighborhood in New York and as it continues to grow, it is crucial that public access to the East River waterfront is secured. Together with Gantry State Park, the LIC waterfront will now be a jewel among New York’s parks. I am thrilled at the expansion of green space that will be provided by the Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park and thank Mayor Bloomberg for his commitment to our community.”
The development of Hunter’s Point South will advance the goals of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES). Launched in March 2011, WAVES is a citywide initiative launched by Mayor Bloomberg which will create a new sustainable blueprint for the city’s more than 500 miles of shoreline. WAVES has two core components: Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which will establish long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, which will set forth priority initiatives to be implemented within three years. Together, the initiatives will provide a blueprint for the city’s waterfront and waterways, and focus on the following categories: open space and recreation, the working waterfront, housing and economic development, natural habitats, climate change adaptation and waterborne transportation.