Gantry Plaza State Park
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Reimagined Shoreline Instills Neighborhood Pride

Location Long Island City, New York, New York, United States

Client Queens West Development Corporation

Scope Landscape Architecture

Size 6 acres

Once a working waterfront teeming with barges, tugboats, and rail cars, the Hunter’s Point shoreline slowly succumbed to the realities of the Post-Industrial Age and this spectacular site was left to deteriorate. Thomas Balsley Associates, together with Weintraub di Domenico, envisioned Gantry Plaza State Park as a place that celebrates its past, future, skyline views and the river. The Promontory is a great lawn with a natural shoreline edge that takes advantage of the Manhattan skyline; in North Gantry Plaza, the skyline is framed by restored gantries—gigantic structures that once transferred railcars onto rail barges; framed by tree-shaded cafes, a fog fountain and game tables, the plaza accommodates 30,000 viewers for the 4th of July fireworks; South Gantry Interpretive Garden is a contemplative space formed by two paths; here, stepping-stone blocks provide the visitor with direct access to the water and look as if they had been abandoned only yesterday. Peninsula Park offers a great lawn promontory with a natural shoreline edge. It is enhanced with willow trees and natural grasses and encourages a wide variety of passive activities. This extraordinary site was blessed with a diverse shoreline and an intact light industrial/blue collar residential neighborhood whose diversity inspired its design. This place helps to heal a once-divided community and instill in it a strong sense of neighborhood spirit and pride. The Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park alliance, formed to protect the park, testifies to the power of this place.

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