Open Space

In 2021 New Yorkers for Parks released their open space index report for Long Island City.  Despite our new resiliency park at Hunters Point South, the index showed that Long Island City was the third to lowest open space to human ratio in all of the New York City (57 out of 59 districts).   See report HERE. Since then many more high rises have been built, in both Court Square, Hunters Point and throughout the upland community.

With the advent of Covid, open space has become even more vital as a way to literally “air one’s self out”.  Fresh air and open space offer citizens a respite from isolation, which in turn kept many New Yorkers sane during lock down.

“Where is the open space?”

Queens Plaza underwent a rezone in 2004. City planners to this day do not understand how their rezone did not fructify as planned.  Instead luxury high rises tower without open space or schools.  Queens Plaza and Court Square are in close proximity to Lake Vernon and Public Land.  This would be a perfect site and a golden opportunity for a wetlands habit, open space, and possibly a Smithsonian branch of the National Museum of the Native American. This kind of reparation would benefit communities at large, by providing to children and adults alike a connection through ancient wisdom traditions. This kind of teaching is a humanistic way of showing how, to live with respect for nature, cycles of the seasons and the stars. Programs around the ecosystem at the wetlands portion of the park would provide further educational opportunities. In addition other programming opportunities could be held on the rooftop garden at the DOB.  The Native American approach to respect  for others and peacemaking skills are a great approach in bringing together cultural and spiritual differences. A yearly pow wow would provide an opportunity for people to gather in the spirit of education, learning and humanity.

Pow wows at Shinnecock Reservation, let’s do this here on public land at 44th Drive as a yearly celebration of the original habitants of the area.

A healthy community is a happy community, plain and simple. Currently children are not allowed to play sports at Gantry State Park. We are desperately short on a facility comparable to Asphalt Green in Manhattan. This could be housed on top of a school at the DOT or DOB sites on Public Land at 44th drive.    

“Can you imaging 70 story towers on the 28 acres you see here with only 40′ of waterfront access? Do we really want to loose the natural habit at Lake Vernon?”

Unfortunately residents often have to fight for something as basic as open space. Look at Bushwick Inlet Park’s example of community groups coming together and deeply engaging elected officials in the neighborhood’s struggle for open space.

We need Lake Vernon and 44th drive properties to be an open natural space for both passive and active use which is an integral part of a well designed city.  If allowed to be developed as planned by Your LIC,  the waterfront would become a bottle neck in an otherwise beautiful waterfront necklace of open space. Boating, fishing, jogging, bird watching. These activities relieve stress and are a source of inspiration, rejuvenation, and relaxation.  Recreation brings communities and cultures into alignment. It is literally common ground for individuals of all backgrounds, and income levels. Here is a golden opportunity through proximity to link Queensbridge Park and Hunter’s Point together while proving critical open space for Queens Plaza and Court Square.

Photo by Steven Speliotis