QNS Coverage: LI Open Space Meeting

QNS coverage of New Yorkers for Parks, Do You Think Long Island City Doesn’t Have Enough Green Space? Then Speak Out At This Special Meeting? 

September 22, 2017 

By Angela Matua 

A civic association in Long Island City will bring city officials together to find out what can be done about the lack of green space in the neighborhood.

The Court Square Civic Association (CSCA), which was started last year in response to the rapid development in the area, will focus on parks and recreation for their next monthly meeting at MoMA PS1 on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

Guest speakers will include Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and Director of Outreach for New Yorkers for Parks, Emily Walker.

CSCA President Pedro Gomez said Court Square residents are especially passionate about green spaces because the area severely lacks public parkland.

“There’s almost no publicly owned property in our area,” he said. “It’s all been gobbled up by developers. There’s a ton of Department of Transportation space which maybe we might be able to have access too [like the] approaches to the Queensboro Bridge. We can see that being re-imagined as public space.”

Each speaker will offer a different perspective, he said, and the event will allow new and longtime residents to get answers from people with expertise.

“Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer can speak to the different questions people might have about rezoning [and a] macro view of what’s happening,” he said. “Dorothy will bring more insight in terms of green spaces that we currently have and Emily is going to bring more of outside the box thinking, some more ideas on how we might be able to transform areas that we’re not thinking of.”

The civic has been actively fighting to preserve green space and last year they started a petition to persuade Rockrose Development not to develop a quasi-park at 43-12 Hunter St. referred to as The Lot by locals.

According to a 2015 New Yorkers for Parks study, only 2 percent of the entire district acreage in City Council District 26 — which includes Sunnyside and parts of Maspeth and Woodside — contains parkland. It also ranked 43rd out of 51 districts in terms of total park and playground acreage per 1,000 residents.

The group has discussed several options for transforming less-trafficked streets into public spaces like Purves Street and Queens Street, which are dead ends.

Gomez added that many people who live in Court Square are fairly new residents and that additional green space would help “to create community.”

“We want to make sure that as these buildings go up — a lot of living happens in the streets in the ground level — we want for this to be a livable neighborhood,” he said.

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