Aug. 29, 2013 By Christian Murray
An additional 5.5 acres of waterfront parkland was officially added to the Long Island City waterfront yesterday—taking the total amount of waterfront park space in the Hunters Point neighborhood to 17.5 acres.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and elected officials cut the ribbon to the Hunters Point South Waterfront Park yesterday—a 5.5 acre city park that features a central green, a playground, a waterside promenade and a stainless-steel pavilion—set to house a cafe and equipped with solar panels on its roof. In addition, there is a dog-run and an urban beach for sunbathing.
The park, which cost $66 million to construct, fits neatly alongside Gantry Plaza State Park, which opened in 1998 and expanded over the years to be 12-acres in size.
“Opening up more of our city’s waterfront for public enjoyment has been a top priority for this administration,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Around the city, we’ve reclaimed abandoned or neglected parts of our waterfront, and turned them into innovative open spaces.”
Both parks were once industrial sites that have been converted into recreational use with views of the Manhattan skyline. The Hunters Point South Waterfront Park will be expanded another 6 acres when the park goes all the way down to Newtown Creek in years to come.
“Together with Gantry State Park, the Long Island City waterfront will now be a jewel among New York’s parks,” said state senator Mike Gianaris.
“The opening of Hunters Point South Park…helps establish Long Island City’s prominence as one of New York’s top destinations,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
The new park is part of Phase I of a massive mixed use development that will eventually see 5,000 units—with a minimum of 60% being affordable—be constructed in the Hunters Point South area.
Developers have begun construction on two apartment towers—one 37 floors and the other 32 floors—with a total of 925 units, costing around $332 million. These units are set for completion in 2014.
So far, the only completed part of the first phase is the park and a 1,100-seat school, which is set to open for the new school year.
For park photos, please click here.