Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Friends for the Queens Highline

Great Minds Do Think Alike!

Photo by William Richard Seqeira
Friend and fellow environmentalist Gil Lopez found Alissa Wassung's post about creating A "Highline-like" project to turn the abandoned elevated subway track around the Rockaway Blvd stop on the A-line into a community produce garden on Change by US NYC. Since then I have reached out to Alissa and utterly pleased to find yet another Queens resident who is passionate about creating a green space out of the abandoned railroad.

I also came across William Richard Sequeira through a previous post on this blog, sharing his experience on this space:

"Hey Anandi, glad to see someone take the first steps in making the Queens Highline Park a reality in the future. Over the past summer I’ve been mountain biking at Forest Park on a weekly basis as a recreational sport and one day came across the abandon LIRR tracks where I grew curiosity to know where the tracks would end. In lure of a small adventure I decided the next day I would come with a friend and hike to the end of the line and maybe explore some artifacts left behind from the old railroad. Even though there could have been the possibility of encountering snakes, bats or raccoons due to all the fallen trees and obstacles along the way I felt confident enough to get by with my current experience walking railroad tracks as a NYC Transit employee. At the end of about 2 miles just past the overpass of NYC Transit’s in service A line at Rockaway Blvd all that was left was a few scratches, some mosquito bites, and the experience of hiking the future Queens High Line Park. Anandi, as an advocate for more mountain bike trails in the city, you have my total support in making this project a reality as I see it adding great value to the borough of Queens."

 and some of the photos from his collection:

And that's not all! Peter W. Beadle and the Rockaway Beach Branch Greenway Committee contacted me through facebook and a lovely email sent via to Joe Anuta after the Make unused Rockaway LIRR into greenspace: Activist article posted this weekend. I was so excited to find someone from the group that has been working on a proposal as my previous emails to them had bounced a few years ago and again most recently. Ivan Mrakovcic, a Community Board 9 member, wants a bike path on the tracks is also on the Rockaway Beach Branch Committee.

A post on the Sustainability Practice Network (SPN) blog inspired a response from a couple other Yay-Sayers:

  • Carlos Martinez, a Parks employee and resident of Jackson Heights, offered resources such as Partnerships for Parks's new program called People Make Parks
  • Mark Anthony ThomasDirector at City Limits stated, "This sounds great. and asked me to consider writing a piece for City Conversations. Hmm, you know, I think I might just do that :)
Needless to say, countless others continue to show support by commenting, sharing ideas, visions, and inspiring others like Michael Perlman and Russel Nelson. Thank you all!

Do you have any stories or photos to share? Let's talk!

Making Headlines

Make unused Rockaway LIRR into greenspace: Activist

Photo by Joe Anuta

Joe Anuta of the Times Ledger saw my tweets about the #QueensHighline and wanted to know more. We exchanged some conversations via email and phone. And then he wrote this piece: 

Make unused Rockaway LIRR into greenspace: Activist

I think his article that ran this week pretty much summed up the vision, helped others who are working on this proposal seek me out. I also started the Facebook Group (along with a strong suggestion by Michael Perlman!) to gather even more public support for this project. All are welcome to join as it's an open group and might have a larger audience than this is free-floating blog.

The Queens Crap posted Anuta's piece and received many comments: The Queens High Line?

Also The Sub Chat posted Anuta's article and gathered a large discussion about this proposal, most are for the rails being revitalized, think that Queens has enough parks or worry that a park in this area will breed rapists, muggers and other violent creatures.

What I want to know is: Why do some individuals get so nasty or hateful about green space and super defensive about cars or resurrected rails? There are parks or green spaces on nearly ever other block in Manhattan. Why argue against a greener and greater Queens?

What are your two cents?