LIC Celebrates Opening Of Dutch Kills Green
Mayor Michael Bloomberg marked the completion of the larger $45 million roadway, pedestrian and bicycle improvement project that has transformed the primary entry point into Queens. The city received more than 600 submissions for its contest to name the new 1.5-acre open space in Queens Plaza, and Bloomberg announced the winning name: Dutch Kills Green, submitted by both Harry Charalambides and James Stark, chosen by a panel made up of city and community representatives. The mayor was joined at Queens Plaza North at the April 4 event by JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick J. Foye, Queens Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.
The Queens Plaza enhancement project, which broke ground in 2009, includes improvements to the pedestrian and bicyclist environment as well as traffic flow, offering a respite for commuters, workers, residents and cyclists serving an exciting and evolving mixed-use neighborhood. The project area extends along Queens Plaza North and Queens Plaza South from Northern Boulevard /Queens Plaza East west to 21st Street. This transformative project provides the neighborhood with new crosswalks, sidewalks, countdown pedestrian signals, improved lighting, native trees and plantings - including 489 new trees, landscaped medians, an off-street bikeway, a separate pedestrian walkway, and its open space. Located at the plaza’s eastern end, at the site of the former John F. Kennedy commuter parking lot, is the new, sustainable designed 1.5 acre open space – including wetlands, non-invasive and drought-tolerant native plantings and artist-designed benches and interlocking / permeable pavers to direct storm water to these plantings. The project also incorporated the historic millstones which were previously embedded in a traffic island. Preservation of these stones allows the current community to realize and understand Queens’ and New York City’s agricultural and historical past.
“Today is a great day for the colorful, gorgeous mosaic that is New York City. With this morning’s announcement that ‘Dutch Kills Green’ has been chosen as the name for the new 1.5-acre park in Queens Plaza, we’re adding a touch of greenery to our lives – and today’s ribbon cutting for JetBlue’s brand-new headquarters is complementing the new park with a touch of blue, an official team color not only for the Mets and the Yankees, but also for New York’s hometown airline, now headquartered right in Long Island City,” said Maloney.