ON Aug. 28, I opened a new 5.5-acre waterfront park and several new roadways at the site of the Hunter’s Point South development in Long Island City, Queens.
Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park will transform a previously abandoned post-industrial area into a dynamic site for recreation along the East River with views of the Manhattan skyline.
Designed as a neighborhood amenity and a destination for New Yorkers across the five boroughs, as well as visitors, the park integrates new infrastructure, landscape and architectural design into the creation of an open waterfront.
The park includes a central green, a playground, a waterside promenade and additional recreation space, as well as a 13,000-square-foot pavilion housing comfort stations, concessions, an elevated café plaza, and a maintenance facility for the Department of Parks and Recreation.
The park is an integral part of Phase 1 of the Hunter’s Point South project, the creation of a new mixed-use neighborhood that includes affordable housing, retail, open space and a new public school situated on approximately 30 acres of prime waterfront property.
When the entire the multiphase Hunter’s Point South development project is complete it will encompass approximately 5,000 new units of housing, with a minimum of 60% being affordable, making it the largest new affordable housing complex to be built in New York City since the 1970s.
Opening up more of our city’s waterfront for public enjoyment has been a top priority for this administration.
Around the city, we’ve reclaimed abandoned or neglected parts of our waterfront, and turning them into innovative open spaces.
I know that Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park will quickly join the list of beloved green spaces along our city’s shores.
Construction of the Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park project — as well as the roadways design and construction — was led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
The park, which also features an adult fitness area, a dog run, a garden that incorporates historic rail tracks on the site with vegetation, and a small beach, is operated and maintained by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
The project has led to the creation of 3,400 linear feet of new roadways that are now open to the public.
In addition, significant new infrastructure and improvements to existing infrastructure were constructed in order to support both the park and future elements of Hunter’s Point South, including water mains, storm and sanitary sewers, street lighting and traffic signals.
A new public school building — which will house a middle school, a high school, and a District 75 program — adjacent to the park site will be completed by the School Construction Authority and open for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The infrastructure, roadway, and park design was led by Arup, which served as the project’s prime consultant and infrastructure designer.
Landscape architecture firm Thomas Balsley Associates and architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi designed the park.
The design was driven by a commitment to creating a vibrant recreational environment for New Yorkers and visitors while adhering to principles of sustainability.
These include the pursuit of alternative transportation options, such as the inclusion of a Class 1 bikeway, introduction of bio-filtration swales along the length of the park, extensive planting of native species of grasses and trees, use of environmentally sustainable wood, the remediation of formerly contaminated industrial areas, and the solar orientation of site and buildings to optimize passive heating and cooling, and solar energy generation.
In order to ensure that the park is prepared for the impacts of climate change, the design allowed for a significant augmentation of the shoreline, employing bulkheads and riprap to better withstand the possibility of future flooding from the East River.
Outside of the park, seven streets leading to the area will also function as extensions of the park landscape, featuring bike paths and additional plantings to encourage pedestrian traffic and create an inviting approach to the park and the waterfront.
Sixty-four photovoltaic panels located on the roof of the pavilion will generate 37,000 kWh per year, powering over 50 percent of the entire park.
Additional panels can be installed over the remainder of the roof to provide 100 percent of the park’s operating power.
The pavilion also houses LEED Silver-certified public restrooms, maintenance and office space, and a future food concession.
The development of Hunter’s Point South will advance the goals of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES).
Launched in March 2011, WAVES is a citywide initiative which will create a new sustainable blueprint for the city’s more than 500 miles of shoreline.
WAVES has two core components:
Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which will establish long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, which will set forth priority initiatives to be implemented within three years.
Together, the initiatives will provide a blueprint for the city’s waterfront and waterways, and focus on the following categories:
open space and recreation, the working waterfront, housing and economic development, natural habitats, climate change adaptation and waterborne transportation.