As you can imagine, we were extremely excited last year to find out that Queens might be getting a High Line-esque park of its own, but as of now, the project is causing a lot of disagreement. Friends of the QueensWay is the neighborhood group that wants to turn a disused stretch of the Long Island Rail Road in Kew Gardens into a green space like Manhattan’s High Line, but city transportation authorities want to revive train service along the track instead.

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The Friends of the QueensWay envision the abandoned LIRR track as Queen’s answer to the High Line Park in Manhattan– only much larger and more green. Aside from planting grass and flowers, the area could also become a new cultural hub. The group has drawn up plans for space for artists to work and also display their pieces along the park for the public to enjoy. The areas under the bridges would be reactivated and could house restaurants, retail spaces and food carts run by local restaurants or farmers.

The space could also become home to an outdoor theater by simply installing bleachers on the embankment, and could be used by community groups. The transformation of the disused track into a public park and cultural center would encourage cultural diversity in Queens, as well as draw visitors from the other boroughs to the area.

But the Regional Rail Working Group is thinking on a different track. They forsee a more efficient way to get to JFK, through a new highspeed line that would connect Manhattan directly to the airport, without having to transfer to the Air Train. Friends of the QueensWay points out that the existing track, which was built in 1877, is so beyond repair that there is nothing to “reactivate” – instead entirely new track would need to be laid, as if starting from scratch.

Both plans are still in discussion, but obviously we hope that the Friends of the QueensWay prevails.

+ Friends of the QueensWay

Via DNA Info

Images via Wikimedia Commons