BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
A simple floating boat dock could help transform Astoria’s neglected waterfront into a neighborhood attraction, according to one City official.
During his State of the District address last Thursday, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) outlined his vision to reconnect Astoria residents with the East River, focusing primarily on building an eco dock for recreational and educational uses.
The dock would bend off of Vernon Boulevard neighboring Astoria Houses at Hallets Cove, replacing what Constantinides called the “decrepit” and “rotting” pier that currently sits there. According to a draft design put together by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, the eco dock would include seating, greenery and storage space for kayaks and canoes.
Constantinides also noted that local schools could bring classes there to study ecology and biology.
“Once, our waterfront was not just a place to watch the sun set over the Manhattan skyline,” Constantinides said. “We have before us a unique opportunity to provide [Astoria’s] children with a new environment for play that serves an innovative, educational tool.”
Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, said he could comfortably predict that the eco dock would cost under $1 million. Constantinides is still looking into funding opportunities and is committed to allocating some of his own discretionary funds toward the project, according to his office.
A similar dock was built in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in Oct. 2013, running $1.1 million according to the Parks Dept. It serves as an access point for historic and educational ships and the City Parks Foundation’s Coastal Classroom has brought high school students at the site.
“Why did we turn our backs to our waterfront that birthed and nurtured our neighborhood? Constantinides asked. “This simple project will offer Astorians from all walks of life a chance to reacquaint themselves with the world that for so long was neglected and disdained.”
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.