Plan for the Queens Waterfront, a part of New
York City's Comprehensive Waterfront Plan issued
in August 1992, presents detailed studies of the
borough's five reaches, or waterfront study areas.
nearly 30 percent of the city's shoreline, Queens
has a remarkable array of waterfront resources
and uses. Its shores encompass precious natural
habitats, well-used parks, active industries,
two airports and parcels appropriate for redevelopment.
The natural beauty that first attracted visitors
to the North Shore and the Rockaways remains a
valuable asset today. The pounding surf off Rockaway
beaches, quiet coves along Long Island Sound,
and the drama of the Queensboro Bridge and the
Manhattan skyline are among the scenic highlights
of the Queens waterfront.
is the only borough whose waterfront is discontinuous
-- its north and south shores are separated by
the width of the borough. The two shorelines differ
in geology, historic development patterns, and
current land uses.
north shore along the East River and Long Island
Sound contains hills created by glacial deposits,
and a series of peninsulas separated by bays and
coves: Hallets Cove, Pot Cove, Bowery Bay, Flushing
Bay, Powell's Cove, Little Bay, Little Neck Bay
and Udall's Cove. The section between Newtown
Creek and Flushing Bay developed as partof New
York's working harbor, where industrial firms
used the water to receive and ship goods. A series
of large utilities and public facilities -- a
Con Edison plant, a Water Pollution Control Plant,
LaGuardia Airport and Rikers Island -- were established
between 1860 and 1940. From the Bronx-Whitestone
Bridge to the Nassau County border, the Queens
shoreline resembles other sections of Long Island's
north shore, with lower-density residential areas
set amid tidal wetland habitats.
south shore -- Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula
-- is a barrier island/bay complex. Beach sands
and dunes characterize miles of oceanfront along
the barrier island. The fine-grained sediments
and marsh deposits of the bay behind the barrier
offer prime fish and wildlife habitat. Jamaica
Bay and the Rockaways, relatively distant from
the rest of New York Harbor, did not become urbanized
until fairly recently.
sections of the Queens waterfront -- Jamaica Bay
and the eastern North Shore --contain especially
significant natural resources. The Comprehensive
Waterfront Plan designates Jamaica Bay and the
Upper East River/Long Island Sound as Special
Natural Waterfront Areas where preservation of
natural coastal resources is the paramount goal.
Jamaica Bay is a natural area of international
significance, and the Upper East River/Long Island
Sound Special Natural Area is an integral part
of the larger Long Island Sound ecosystem, which
has been designated an Estuary of National Concern.
The two special natural areas encompass five state-designated
Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats:
Udall's Cove, Little Neck Bay, Alley Pond Park,
Jamaica Bay and Breezy Point. The reach studies
that follow recommend a variety of measures including
land acquisition and parkland mapping, revision
to Waterfront Revitalization Program policies,
and management and planning guidelines for city-owned
property in sensitive areas.
has a number of waterfront parks with magnificent
views, bathing beaches and natural environments.
The borough's publicly accessible waterfront consists
of miles of Rockaway beachfront, and smaller parks
along Jamaica Bay, the East River and Long Island
Sound. The West Queens waterfront has more than
100 acres of parkland and other public spaces.
The plan calls for a nearly continuous esplanade
along the East River through Astoria, Ravenswood
and Hunters Point. As part of a citywide greenway
system, the esplanade would serve nearby medium-density
communities as well as residents of planned waterfront
developments. Other waterfront recreational uses
are recommended throughout the borough, some in
areas where public access must be compatible with
natural resources or industrial activity.
New York's two airports, JFK International and
LaGuardia, are the most vital working waterfront
uses along the Queens shoreline. The airports
are the city's connection to the world economy,
and they are essential to the city's economic
future. The plan supports measures to accommodate
expansion and improve access at both airports.
Aside from the airports, the greatest concentrations
of industrial uses on the Queens waterfront are
along Newtown Creek where rail, highway and waterborne
access offer potential for intermodal goods movements.
The Newtown Creek reach is identified as one of
six Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas,
where manufacturing zoning is to be maintained,
and infrastructure investment and city land disposition
and development policies will be designed to strengthen
on the West Queens waterfront, much of the industrial
base has declined, leaving large tracts of dormant
land. Although pockets of active industrial and
municipal uses are expected to remain, the area's
easy access to commercial centers in Queens and
Manhattan has created a major redevelopment opportunity.
Approved redevelopment projects in Hunters Point
have capacity for over 7,000 housing units, and
other sites suitable for redevelopment are identified
in northern Hunters Point, Ravenswood and along
Pot Cove. Farther east, the 40-acre Downtown Flushing
riverfront is recommended for redevelopment, as
well as smaller sites in College Point and Beechhurst.
On the borough's south shore, an approved Urban
Renewal Plan for the 300-acre Arverne site in
Rockaway calls for development of 7,500 residential
units, open spaces, schools and commercial activity.
Plan for the Queens Waterfront presents a broad
vision, supported by site-specific recommendations,
to preserve and enhance the waterfront as a vibrant,
exciting place integral to the borough's social
and economic life.
to the Borough Waterfront Overview Page