Build it and they will come.
Last week the city opened a new park adjacent to Gantry State Park on the waterfront in Long Island City.
The 5.5-acre swath of land includes a large circular lawn, a playground, a waterside promenade, bike lanes, a dog park and interactive fountain system for hot days, as well as a 13,000-square-foot park hours complete with comfort stations, concessions, an elevated cafÈ plaza and a maintenance facility for the Department of Parks and Recreation.
The design, like the many modern condominium towers springing up in the area, is sleek. Old railroad tracks planted with native gasses look like the High Line in Manhattan and many steel-and-stone fixtures complete the look.
Last Thursday afternoon about 30 kids and parents filled the play structure while many happy dog owners used the small -sized dog run complete with designated small- and large-dog areas.
“It’s gorgeous,” said Carolyn Peters, who takes care of several LIC children. “They are very much enjoying it.”
She said the new playground attracts slightly older kids while the established jungle gym, nicknamed Rainbow park, on the other side of the Gantry State Park piers draws more toddlers.
“We have Shady Park and Rainbow Park,” Peters said. “I wonder how they will call this new park?
Her only request would be to bring back tennis courts that previously occupied in the Hunters Point South location.
The green space is the first phase in the Hunters Point South project. The new waterfront multi-use development will include 5,000 new units of housing, with a minimum of 60 percent designated affordable. That makes it the largest affordable housing complex built in the city since the 1970s.
Last Wednesday Mayor Mike Bloomberg checked out the new waterfront park.
“Around the city, we’ve reclaimed abandoned or neglected parts of our waterfront, and turned them into innovative open spaces,” Bloomberg said. “I know that Hunters Point South Waterfront Park will quickly join the list of beloved green spaces along our city’s shores.”