Queens residents have a new place to hang along the East River after the official opening of the Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park extension on Wednesday.
City officials cut a ceremonial green ribbon to mark the completion of phase two of the joint project between the city Economic Development Corporation and Department of Parks and Recreation, which includes a 5.5-acre extension of the park along the Long Island City waterfront.
The extension begins south of 54th Avenue and wraps around Newtown Creek, connecting with the existing park that was completed in August 2013. The result is 11 acres of contiguous space for New Yorkers to enjoy.
The new section features panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, courtesy of a sprawling lawn space and a promenade that juts out over the green space.
“The enjoyment will go on for generations here at Hunter’s Point South,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
The project, spearheaded by the EDC, also includes plans for 5,000 apartments, with at least 60 percent of the units designated as affordable housing for low-, moderate-, and middle-income families. Phase one of the project included two mixed-use buildings with 900 residential units and about 20,000 square feet of new retail space.
However, residents from a nearby middle-income housing co-op picketed across the street from the ribbon-cutting, saying they were being priced out of the neighborhood by increasing maintenance costs.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris acknowledged the protesting residents, saying, “These are the people that have made this community what it is, these are the people that have made it so desirable for others to come here, and the last thing we want to do is drive them out of the neighborhood because it becomes too expensive.”