June 14, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A workshop will be taking place later this month where the public can help design the open space that will be part of the city’s massive and controversial 44th Drive development along the Long Island City waterfront.
The workshop, organized by the Economic Development Corporation, will take place on June 25 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Manducatis Rustica, located at 46-35 Vernon Blvd.
The open area in focus spans over an acre, and is part of a proposed 1.5 million-square-foot development that includes nearly 1,000 residential units (of which 25 percent will be affordable), a public school, and thousands of square feet of office and industrial space over two parcels of publicly-owned land.
The project, to be built out by TF Cornerstone, has since been dubbed the “Long Island City Innovation Center.”
The workshop will be an opportunity for local residents to collaborate with the EDC and voice what they would like to see included in the design, an EDC spokesperson said. Attendees will be able to share their ideas and provide feedback during the meeting, no matter how general or specific.
The EDC says the open space design is intended to be a collaborative effort, and that the space, as of now, does not have any designs attached to it. The open space will connect directly to the esplanades from both Hunters Point South and Gantry Plaza State Parks.
The project has been heavily criticized since the city announced TF Cornerstone as the selected developer for the site last year. Locals have questioned the city’s transparency in the process, and believe that the EDC is not planning comprehensively for the neighborhood.
Elected officials, including Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, have also come out against the project, and participated in a rally against the city-led project in March.
The EDC said incorporating public input is “critical” to making sure their projects meet the needs of all New Yorkers.
“Throughout this process we heard that the community felt it was important for them to be able to collaborate on the design of this space,” an EDC spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the agency has taken this approach in the past, as was the case when collaborating with local stakeholders on the design and build-out of both Hunters Point South Park phases.
Those unable to make the workshop will have more opportunities down the line to pitch ideas to the city. The EDC said it will discuss the project with stakeholders, local civic groups, Community Board 2, and local officials.
In addition, with the ULURP process for the development expected to kick off in the first half of 2019, the public will have more chances to voice their thoughts during the months-long public review process.
To RSVP to the public workshop, email Eleni Bourinaris at [email protected] or call 212-312-3896.