BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
The long awaited seawall at Queensbridge Park is now open for picnics, afternoon walks and fishing expeditions.
The buckled, cracked seawall was fenced off for several years, after having suffered decay and erosion against the East River.
Of the restored seawall, Community Board 1 Parks and Culture chair Richard Khuzami said, “It’s wonderful. It’s actually more than I expected. We’ve been trying to get this seawall built for a number of years.”
He added that the reconstruction has been part of CB1’s capital request for more than a decade.
The seawall was restored with funding allocated by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who secured $3.65 million for the project, as well as $1 million each from former Borough President Helen Marshall, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the MTA.
“There was a lot of money involved. Raising the money was the obstacle. But I’m thankful that all of the persons who worked with it raised the money to do it,” Elizabeth McQueen, a Queensbridge resident and president of the community advocacy group Friends of Queensbridge Park, said.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) has been involved in the recon
struction planning for several years. She said the project “fell asleep” at the Army Corps of Engineers and was brought back to the Parks Dept. A crucial step forward in the reconstruction, according to Maloney, was securing mitigation funds from the MTA.
“It shows that it takes a village often to get things done,” Maloney said. “It takes the hope and desire of many people.”
Besides beautifying the area, the new seawall is also designed to benefit the shoreline on an environmental level. According to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, the seawall is reinforced by stone revetment, which protects the bank against erosion. Green space was also maximized to absorb rain water and reduce runoff into the river.
Maude Askin has been a Queensbridge resident for more than 50 years. She said she used to bring her children to walk along the water, before the area became dilapidated.
“It looks beautiful, I’m so glad they brought it back. It’s a blessing,” Askin said. “It’s coming back to how it used to be.”
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.