This week, Tarrytown advocacy group Riverkeeper, the Newtown Creek Alliance, Guardians of Flushing Bay and architecture and design firm Perkins+Will’s New York Studio announced plans to restore and revitalize the waterfront at two Queens spots—Newtown Creek and Flushing Waterways, which spans 600 acres between LaGuardia Airport, Downtown Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Willets Point.
Newtown Creek is the site of one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. It was discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard 40 years ago, but was believed to have started somewhere between 60 to 100 years ago. The creek is not expected to be clean enough to comply with federal standards until 24 years from now. Similar to Newtown Creek, the waterways around Flushing Bay—which were historically salt marshes—are now overflowing with pollutants.
We applaud the plans unveiled by the various advocacy groups and design firm that include restored salt marshes, bulkheads to protect the waterways from contamination, oyster cages, community gardens and parks, pavilions restored to provide space for cafes and “water trails” for boaters.
Queens leaders have long called for more affordable housing in the borough, but it is also important for Queens to retain areas for recreation and green space amid the nonstop development. These new plans will take areas that have long been blighted and polluted and transform them into cleaner shorelines that could yield economic, environmental and social benefits for generations to come.
The plans for the waterfronts were inspired by more than 50 community meetings and workshops that have taken place throughout Queens and Brooklyn. We think it is important to continue to hold such meetings to allow residents from both boroughs to add their input as to what they’d like to see on the waterfronts of their communities.
To quote a famous movie, we’re glad to see Queens’ waterfront once again becoming a contender.