April 1, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A new seating area has been added at Gantry Plaza State Park where residents can catch views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline.
Four new aluminum picnic benches were put down along a plaza area – located just off 47th Road between 47-20 Center Boulevard and Hunters Point Library – around three weeks ago, according to Leslie Wright, regional director of the NYS Parks Dept.
The benches were added by NYS Parks to increase the number of seats available to visitors at the 12-acre park, Wright said.
“We were able to place the picnic tables so that park patrons would have one more spot within the park to relax and enjoy the view,” Wright said.
The aluminum picnic benches, Wright said, will remain at the plaza all year round and were purchased via a grant from the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, a group that helps with the upkeep of the park. The benches cost around $2,000 each, according to Rob Basch, president of the HPPC.
Three green-colored wooden picnic benches have also been placed at the spot on a temporary basis. The wooden benches are usually situated at a nearby lawn area inside the park but have been moved while NYS Parks is carrying out irrigation work there, Wright said.
Wright said that construction work on a new park ranger station, located adjacent to the new seating area, finished up a few weeks ago which freed up space to install the benches. The ranger station also includes new restrooms.
She said that the benches have already proven to be a “big hit” with park visitors.
“Now that the weather has taken a decisive turn toward spring, we are seeing lots of patrons enjoying the tables,” Wright said.
Given their instant popularity, NYS Parks is considering purchasing additional aluminum benches that would replace the wooden ones, Wright said, adding that the decision would depend on budget constraints.
The HPPC said it is looking to see if it can contribute toward more benches too. The group is also in the process of purchasing umbrellas for the current set of aluminum benches at the plaza, to protect parkgoers from the sun.