Sept. 23, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
A new waterfront park opened by the Skyview Center in Flushing last week marking the end of 18 months of construction.
The Waterfront Esplanade at the Skyview Center officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 19 and marks the first piece of the larger revitalization of Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay. The esplanade also provides public access to the creek.
The new park opposite 131-04 40th Rd. was officially unveiled by representatives of the Skyview Center and a number of local elected officials including State Sen. John Liu and Council Member Peter Koo.
The park features plantings, landscaped elements and a number of benches that offer a view of the creek. The Skyview Center wants environmental groups, gardening clubs and schools to use the park for both educational and recreational purposes.
Koo said that the park reconnected the Flushing community with the creek and that it will be followed by further redevelopment and improvement of the Flushing Creek waterfront.
“For too long, our community has been completely cut off from the Flushing Creek,” Koo said. “With the opening of this public waterfront esplanade, we are getting a glimpse of what the waterfront of the Flushing Creek from 40th Road to Northern Boulevard will look like in the future.”
The park is the first part of a larger revitalization plan of Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay. The Department of City Planning launched the Flushing Creek Plan in 2017 to explore opportunities to restore the ecological health of the creek.
The plan is made possible by a grant obtained from the New York State Department of State under the Environmental Protection Fund.
Liu said that the plan to revitalize the creek would eventually allow people to enjoy recreational activities on the water.
“Generations of kids grew up thinking that the Flushing River only existed in fantasy, since none of us could ever get near or even see it,” Liu said on Thursday.
“Today’s opening is a huge step towards achieving a lifelong dream of having community access to our Flushing waterfront. People kayak and swim in the Hudson River off Manhattan; no reason why we can’t do the same in the Flushing River – someday soon.”