2005-11-09 / Features

Kayaking Party Calls Attention To Flushing River

Members of Citizens for NYC and elected officials representing Flushing, Whitestone and College Point rowed and paddled along the Flushing River to call attention to the improved quality of the riparian environment and to point out that more must be done to improve the local ecology. The boating party included state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblymembers Jimmy Meng and Jose Peralta and City Councilmember John Liu as well as Citizens for NYC President Peter H. Kostmayer.
Members of Citizens for NYC and elected officials representing Flushing, Whitestone and College Point rowed and paddled along the Flushing River to call attention to the improved quality of the riparian environment and to point out that more must be done to improve the local ecology. The boating party included state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblymembers Jimmy Meng and Jose Peralta and City Councilmember John Liu as well as Citizens for NYC President Peter H. Kostmayer. Citizens for NYC, City Councilmember John Liu and other elected officials took to the water in canoes, kayaks and rowboats to demonstrate their commitment to public access to a cleaner, healthier Flushing River. State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymembers Jose Peralta and Jimmy Meng joined Liu and Citizens for NYC members to support cleaner waterways and a better future for the borough.

“Citizens for NYC has a long, determined history of helping volunteers do the hard work of improving the city's quality of life, especially when it comes to the urban environment,” Citizens for NYC President Peter H. Kostmayer said. “We are proud to give the Coastal Preservation Network a $5,000 grant to promote access to the water and ecology education in Flushing, Whitestone and College Point.” Kostmayer presented a check to Dr. James M. Cervino, a professor of marine biology at Pace University and founder of Coastal Preservation Network, an all-volunteer neighborhood group. The Long Island City Community Boathouse, another Citizens for NYC grant recipient, provided five sit-on-top kayaks and two canoes for the press conference. Elected officials took a tour of the site.

Liu, donning a wetsuit, called attention to the lush marsh grasses along the riverbanks that are home to egrets, night herons, geese and seagulls. “This is truly exciting. Doing something fun, like kayaking, on the Flushing River is a dream I’ve had since growing up as a kid in Flushing. Sadly, for decades, people have been driven away from the Flushing River because of its stench and repulsive appearance.

“With this effort, we are taking back the River. Flushing can and will have a waterfront accessible to the general public. The river should be a focal point of this great community, this destination of choice. Once we reclaim the Flushing River for people, our dream will have come true,” Liu, who is chairperson of the council Transportation Committee, said.

Stavisky stated: “Recreational kayaking is a near perfect sport. Participants can enjoy our waterways and our environment without polluting them. Two-person kayaking teaches the importance of teamwork. Kayaking provides exercise for all levels of expertise. I hope people will take this opportunity, whether they be novices or Olympic quality athletes, to enjoy the Flushing River/Upper East River ecosystem.”

Added Peralta: “The fact that we are promoting recreational and educational use of our waterways right here in the Flushing River is another sign that there is a renaissance occurring not only in the neighborhoods of Flushing and Corona, but throughout Queens. By all levels of government working together, city, state and federal, we ensure that our constituents’ quality of life is improved and ensure that the areas we represent become a destination for families to raise their children.”

“I want to thank Citizens for NYC for providing a grant to revive the Flushing Waterfront and Coastal Preservation Network for all their hard work in making Flushing River a true destination spot for the community,” Meng said. “For too long, this waterfront property has been neglected. The commitment to making the area as a recreational spot is just the beginning to the renewal of the interest and activity to a true gem in Flushing.”

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