Earlier this week, the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay detailed its plans to transform a 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned railway in Queens into New York City’s newest marquee park, touting the plan as a boon for local businesses and residents alike.
The plans, created by WXY Architecture & Urban Design and DlandStudio Architecture & Landscape Architecture, include a mix of new recreational and cultural opportunities as well as natural trails that supporters say will transform this section of the former Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Railroad into Queens’ own version of Manhattan’s High Line. The park would straddle the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven.
The project faces significant hurdles. For starters, some Queens residents would rather see a restoration of rail service to the Rockaways while others have raised concerns about privacy. And then there is the matter of money. Proponents estimate that it will cost $120 million to build the park. The New York Times reported this week that the Trust for Public Land has raised $1.2 million for the project, including $467,000 in New York State park funds. That signals that a challenging fundraising effort lies ahead.
Still, supporters of the plan are optimistic.
“This will be a wonderful park for Queens,” says Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Land. “It will provide a safe way for people to get to Forest Park without having to cross dangerous traffic, and the visitors of the QueensWay will help local businesses. It will also provide outdoor recreation for thousands of people who need that access. We look forward to making this park a reality.”