A group of park activists and city board members are hard at work on bringing the concept of the High Line to Queens. The group recently met with representatives from the city about a proposed plan to turn the defunct Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which has been abandoned for 50 years, into a long green way much like its Manhattan counterpart. The leaders have already garnered the support of Community Board 9, but some people in the neighborhood think that the park isn’t such a great idea.
Though Community Board 9 has overwhelmingly supported the idea of the proposed park, Community Board 6, which represents the communities of Forest Hills and Rego Park, voted overwhelmingly against supporting the renovation when it was first proposed in 2007. The civic leaders behind the project believe that with the proven success and beauty of Manhattan’s High Line, they may again have a chance to make the old Rockaway Beach Branch raised trestle into a green space for the communities enjoyment.
“This is such an exciting idea,” Andrea Crawford, told the New York Daily News. Crawford is the chairwoman of Community Board 9 and is helping push the project forward. “It’s green, yet it has economic development opportunities. It would tie us in with other rail-to-trail projects happening all over the country.” Unlike the High Line, which runs only through well-developed areas, the Rockaway Beach Branch meanders from neighborhoods above Metropolitan Avenue through a densely wooded area in Forest Park before emerging again on Union Turnpike.
With the success of the High Line, the renewed interest in renovating the Rockaway Beach Branch railway might garner new support. When asked by the New York Daily News about the project Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6 said, “the last time we saw anything was in 2007,” he said. “We’re willing to listen.”