You are reading

Op-ed: The time for climate resilience in Queens is now

Feb. 7, 2024 By Furhana Husani

Climate change can be described in two ways: More water and more heat. The New York State Climate Impact Assessment confirms it — New York City and Queens’ future will become a new normal of stronger and more destructive coastal storms and hurricanes, a 17% increase in precipitation, and a sharp increase of summer days reaching a heat index above 95°F.

There is no question that Flushing Meadows Corona Park will bear the brunt of more water and more heat. Formerly a low-lying, wetlands-rich area, it is surrounded by asphalt and highways, that faces a future of extreme precipitation and major flooding. Even now the park’s playing fields and recreational facilities are frequently flooded after just minor storms.

It is imperative for us to take action and there is no time to waste. Building climate resilience for all parks, and in particular Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is imperative for the future of New York City, its economy, and the livelihoods of millions of New Yorkers.

The Waterfront Alliance and a team of experts are in the early stages of a project to develop solutions to the most severe climate-related issues plaguing the Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This project will produce climate resilient solutions and help position the park for state and federal funding for infrastructure.

The opportunity of Metropolitan Park at Citi Field amplifies the opportunity for major improvements and a better future for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Support from Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International is a critical component of vital solutions as the climate crisis bears down on Queens.

Metropolitan Park is an $8 billion proposal to reconstruct the current parking lot surrounding Citi Field into 20 acres of new public park space and a year-round sports and entertainment destination. While this parking lot is currently labeled as “park land” by New York State, it is not. Since the World’s Fair in 1937, it has been an asphalt desert – isolated, empty and choked on all sides by highways and traffic. As it stands now, the parking lot divides surrounding communities from each other, significantly reduces the waterfront access in Flushing Bay and places cars above pedestrians.

Just like the rest of the park, this site is naturally a marshland and prone to flooding. When it doesn’t rain, the 50 acres of asphalt traps heat and radiates heat throughout the day and night.

Metropolitan Park is an opportunity to fund critical climate mitigation infrastructure investments, create more than 20 acres of new public park space, and leverage badly needed improvements to the entire set of climate threats faced by Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Queens is the most diverse county in the country – known for everything from authentic global cuisines and the Louis Armstrong House Museum to the iconic US Open. Metropolitan Park is our opportunity to transform 50 acres of asphalt wasteland and give Queens a new distinction: the model of climate resilience.

 

*Furhana Husani is the Director of Programs and Climate Initiatives at the Waterfront Alliance

Filed under: Uncategorized

Recent News

College Point building inspector criminally charged with taking bribes to close complaints: DA

A College Point man who works as an inspector at the city’s Department of Buildings is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for overlooking potential violations at various Queens locations on multiple occasions since January 2023.

Zabihullah Ibrahimi, 42, of 22nd Avenue, was arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on bribery and official misconduct charges for taking cash from homeowners and then closing complaints about their property. In one case, he allegedly asked for $3,500 from a property owner and, when she said she had no cash, he directed her to go to a bank and get it while he waited at her home, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Op-ed: An urgent call for revising NY’s criminal justice reforms to protect public safety

Apr. 11, 2024 By Council Member Robert Holden

In 2019, the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a controversial overhaul of New York’s criminal justice system by enacting several laws, including cashless bail and sweeping changes to discovery laws. Simultaneously, the New York City Council passed laws that compounded these challenges, notably the elimination of punitive segregation in city jails and qualified immunity for police officers. These actions have collectively undermined public safety and constrained law enforcement effectiveness.