June 12, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Hunters Point South Park will double in size later this month, as the second phase of the park is set to open to the public.
The new portion, stretching from 54th Avenue and around Newtown Creek, will open to the public on June 21, the city confirmed.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation, however, will hold a ceremony celebrating the park’s opening on June 27. The park itself, however, will be open beginning on the 21st.
Phase II of the park, as known by the city, has been under construction for the past three years, and stands in stark contrast to the existing portion of the park between 50th and 54th Avenues.
The new 5.5 acre site includes lots of green space, wetlands, and a sloping overlook several feet above water for an “urban escape” feel, according to SWA/Balsley, the landscape architect behind the park.
The new park will also feature a linear park with playground equipment, fitness equipment for adults, a kayak launch, and a public art piece.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who has toured Phase II several times during its construction, said the $105 million expansion is a “tremendous victory” for Hunters Point and Long Island City.
“We have a lot of challenges in Long Island City, but this park is part of what will make the community livable for the people who call it home,” he said.
Van Bramer describes the park as a “gigantic garden” and completely distinct from the existing portion of the waterfront park. At times, he says, the grassy mounds completely cover the buildings located on Center Boulevard, and has the feel of a forest.
Other portions of the park, like the fitness area for adults, feature state-of-the-art equipment like ellipticals that make the area resemble a private gym instead. The overlook, jutting out several feet beyond the park, could become a gathering place for concerts and other events, he added.
Phase II of the park’s opening aligns with construction work starting on additional residential towers as part of the Hunters Point South development. Developers have already been chosen to build four towers and two schools within two empty plots south of Borden Avenue, with developers yet to be selected for the remaining two parcels of empty land.
The entire Hunters Point South development, when complete, will span 30 acres and hold up to 5,000 residential units.
Update 6/20 – A prior version of this article listed that the opening ceremony would take place on June 21. The city, however, said today that the opening ceremony has been rescheduled for June 27.