BY LUIS GRONDA
The QueensWay plan has gotten a little tastier.
Supporters of the proposed pedestrian and bike path gathered at Ben’s Best Deli on Tuesday to unveil the official “QueensWay Sandwich,” which will be served at the popular Rego Park-based eatery.
The sandwich is part of a larger initiative, called “QueensWay Eats.” It was launched by the Trust for Public Land, the firm that is developing the proposed 3.5-mile park, to highlight the different cuisine options that would be near the QueensWay.
The company listed 31 eateries spanning across all neighborhoods that the outdoor path would serve as food options for residents. They include several popular
Borough eateries like Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, Danny’s Wine Bar and Kitchen and Eddie’s Sweet Shop, both in Forest Hills. The list was created to encourage residents to visit the diverse eateries that are based near the vacant path.
As for the sandwich, it is made with pastrami, turkey, salami and coleslaw on rye bread. Buying the sandwich will not be cheap: $18.95 in total, according to Jay Parker, the owner of Ben’s Best.
“It represents a mélange of different meat types, just as there is an immense amount of diversity in the communities. I think it’s perfect,” Marc Matsil, the executive director of the Trust for Public Land, said.
Ben’s Best is one of several eateries that have come out in support of the QueensWay. Parker said building the outdoor path will greatly benefit businesses like his.
“We have this rail line that hasn’t been used for 50 years and we’re repurposing it,” he said. “Let’s turn it into green space. I’m not quite sure I see any of the downside here. Queens needs something like this.”
Parker said there was no hesitation to naming a sandwich after a project that has not yet been built.
“Look at that menu, nobody on that menu has ever failed at anything,” he said.
Regarding the project itself, Matsil said the firm continues to raise funds for the QueensWay. The company has raised about $3 million so far, according to Matsil, and he believes it will cost about $10 million to complete a design of the project.
He added that they will launch a public campaign in the near future to raise awareness about TPL’s plan and raise money as well. Last week, the company released a nearly five minute short-film featuring residents and business owners from the surrounding neighborhoods discussing why they believe the QueensWay would benefit the Borough.
Matsil also supports the proposed Woodhaven-Cross Bay Select Bus Service Plan, saying that it would complement the QueensWay and make it easier for residents to travel to public spaces like Forest Park.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), who has been a vocal supporter of reactivating the Rockaway Beach LIRR line instead of building the QueensWay, issued a response following the video release.
“This is just more wasted taxpayer dollars and smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that Queens residents, elected officials and transit advocates overwhelmingly support increased transit options and restoration of the Rockaway Beach rail line,” he said in a statement.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.