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Hunters Point Organizations Push For ‘Sorely Lacking’ Recreational Center to be Built in Long Island City

NYC Parks & Recreation

Jan. 23, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A group of Hunters Point-based organizations are demanding that a recreation center be built in Long Island City, an area they say desperately needs a dedicated recreational space as more developments take up the few available spaces left in the neighborhood.

The push is led by the Hunters Point Civic Association (HPCA), which posted a Change.org petition on Jan. 18 directed at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. The petition points to a steadily overcrowding Hunters Point neighborhood with no existing place for year-round organized physical activities.

The health benefits of exercise for the community, especially for the youth, are also listed as reasons for a recreation center, along with alarming statistics on the lack of physical activity in public schools, where many would assume the need for recreational time is fulfilled.

“This has been a concern of the neighborhood for a long time,” said Brent O’Leary, president of the HPCA. “With these huge pieces of land being developed and taken out of circulation, we feel that if one isn’t put in now, all of the space for a recreation center will be gone.”

O’Leary specifically demands that a recreational center be included and approved for any new development in Hunters Point, and singles out the recent Anable Basin rezoning proposal and the EDC/TF Cornerstone development on 44th Drive.

“As these developments are asking for a variance and rezoning to add more density and people, they should have a responsibility to alleviate that burden,” O’Leary said.

The HPCA president emphasized that a recreation center provides several opportunities that a park, like the soon-to-be 10-acre Hunters Point South park, does not.

“The park is already overflowed, and in the winter you can’t use it,” O’Leary said. “In the summer, it’s full of tourists.” He added that the park does not permit for organized team activities, which is why several groups like LIC Volleyball, the Long Island City Soccer Club, and LIC Recreation back the push for a recreation center.

A pool, space for organized teams to play, a fitness center, and a community space are among the basic features O’Leary envisions in a recreation center for the neighborhood. The ultimate goal, however, is for a space similar to Asphalt Green, which recently opened a 52,000 square-foot community center in Battery Park City that cost $55 million to build.

The petition has hit over 200 signatures since going live five days ago.

O’Leary says he has reached out to TF Cornerstone, the EDC, and Plaxall about bringing a recreation center within their upcoming projects and proposals.

“We’ve heard from a number of local stakeholders about the need for a recreation center in LIC,” a spokesperson for Plaxall said. “We appreciate the constructive feedback and look forward to continuing to hear from neighbors as we refine our plans.”

TF Cornerstone did not respond to requests for comment, and the EDC said they will not be providing comment at this time.

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10 Comments

Basta

“Long Island City Soccer Club”? What? When is this nonsense going to end? A club that doesn’t have a single full size field in the neighborhood? Are people completely unaware of the numerous real clubs right in Astoria with great traditions? How many parents are going to be swindled in the name of the beautiful game? Those clowns at Salamina are just as bad…




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Basta

I agree, Thomas. They are desperate to give their precious, spoiled offspring a suburban experience, despite the fact they live in NYC. They just don’t get it.




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DO

Great idea, and fitting, as the boroughs are lacking the infrastructures grandfathered in through Manhattan’s “bathhouses,” built for the poor as actual places to bathe and get kids especially away from the TB and rickets-inspiring dark and unsanitary slums our grandmothers and great-grands knew as immigrants. These charitable structures also included bathing pools and sports areas, in an effort to offer adults and children more than labor activities. Disease and crime deterrence added to this mix. Well, Queens was the “country” back then, so we didn’t get our fair share of pools and gyms. It’s time! (And, the YMCA of Sunnyside is not the alternative. NYC rec. centers senior membership is $25. a year, adults $150., children to 18 are free.)




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Basta

You realize that the vast majority of people living in LIC did not have grandparents living in the city, right? I agree with the sentiment of your post, and I like what you are saying, but our motivation is different from those this article speaks of. Most of the current LIC residents are wealthy jerks that are trying to turn NYC into the suburbs at all costs.




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MRLIC

Finally some non development thinking. Wow, I am shocked. A recreational/senior center would be a “GREAT IDEA”. A pool should be mandatory. Soccer and Volleyball along with basketball , a few pool tables, chess boards would be nice. How about a small touch/flag football space or a small area for softball/baseball/batting cages, maybe enough space for a less than full field softball game. Weight room maybe lockers & showers.Any or all of these ideas would be nice. Stop over developing and make LIC a decent place to live and be a real community people want to stay in and get to know their neighbors.




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Basta

Yeah, a true community center for regular community members would be fine. But let’s be real: this is just a ploy from the luxury building people to get some gym space for their kids, because it’s the one thing their buildings don’t have in their amenities package. It’s just another attempt to create the perfect, kid-friendly bubble in LIC.




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Thomas Buckley

Too many YUPPIES and HIPSTERS coming over from Manhattan. This is a FACTORY neighborhood. What did they expect?




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Aggie

Need a Trader Joe’s (not connected to article’s topic) but ppl from surrounding neighborhoods would love to have it as well




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