Rockaway Park was once dominated by vacant buildings and parking lots, but it was recently reborn as a green waterfront oasis. Last week, Mayor Bloomberg cut the ribbon on the rejuvenated 27-acres of boardwalk and open beach, which was made possible through PlaNYC, the city's effort to provide a “greener, greater vision of New York.” Now the previously underused space in Queens features eco-friendly designs recreational facilities ranging from a 15,700 square-foot skateboard park to handball and basketball courts to a playground and water play area for kids.
Other amenities include a performance space (Beach 19 Stage), a boardwalk (Arbors Structures) and comfort station, an outdoor classroom and a park maintenance station (Beach 30 Pavilion), all designed by WXY Architects under the direction of founding partner Claire Weisz.
Rockaway Park is one of eight regional parks to be redeveloped through PlaNYC. The open, post-modernist designs use permeable surfaces to improve storm water collection and aim to work in harmony with the natural habitats and coastal dunes in the surrounding areas. Miles of oceanfront have also been cleaned up in the course of the rejuvenation process.
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe called the area “a mini Jones Beach for the 21-century,” while Mayor Bloomberg is quick to point out Rockaway Park is “a big step forward in keeping our commitment to sustainability and improving our city’s quality of life by investing in green spaces of the future.” The initiative is also part of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES), a city-wide effort to promote a blueprint for New York’s more than 500 miles of beaches.
Photos courtesy of WXYArchitecture