Tag Archives: New York City Regional Economic Development Council

QueensWay gets big lift with $443,750 state grant for park design

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of thequeensway.org

The campaign to turn an abandoned railroad line into a new park running through Queens got a huge lift with a $443,750 grant from the state that was announced on Friday.

The project, called QueensWay, will be able to use the funding from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council toward the design of the first phase of the proposed park, officials said on Friday.

“This vital grant brings us one step closer to making the QueensWay a reality,” said Rep. Joe Crowley. “I thank Gov. Cuomo and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast commitment to building a unique park in our borough that will not only provide great health and environmental benefits to the surrounding communities but also the potential to spur significant economic growth in the area.”

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi said the governor’s economic council targets funding to projects that will have an impact on the local economy. “The QueensWay is one of those projects and I’m glad to support the great effort of The Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay to bring this transformative project to our community,” he said.

Funding, which goes jointly to the Friends of Queensway and The Trust for Public Land, will be used to design the park’s “Northern Gateway” section, beginning in Rego Park, near Forest Hills.

“This site, at the north end of the QueensWay, is an ideal way to begin to connect the residents to a portion of this 47-acre corridor,” read a statement announcing the grant. “The section will retain and feature a large number of mature trees and will include a nature-themed adventure playground, large bioretention basins and other green infrastructure that can absorb large quantities of stormwater, and access paths to adjacent streets.”

QueensWay calls for converting the 3.5-mile-long former rail corridor into a “linear park and cultural greenway.”

While the project enjoys the support of many elected officials, it also faces opposition from other city and state lawmakers who want the MTA to return rail service that they say is desperately needed to link southern Queens with Manhattan.

I am deeply disappointed with the Regional Economic Development Council’s recent decision to grant funding for a park proposal on Rockaway Beach Rail Line right-of-way. Our tax dollars are being wasted on overpriced out-of-borough consultants that shove their one-sided studies and expensive designs down our throats. The Council has once again ignored the needs of real Queens families who struggle with our lack of transit options,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “It’s clear that reactivating the Rockaway Beach Rail Line is the best and most cost-effective way to expand transit in Queens while easing commutes, creating jobs, cleaning the environment and expanding our economic development. I will continue to fight until this becomes a reality and our families in Queens have the transportation options they need and deserve.”





‘This is Queens’ app launches

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

All of Queens is now available right in your pocket.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of the “This is Queens” app for Android and iPhone mobile devices on June 27, in time for tons of tourists at upcoming major events in the borough.

The app, which can be downloaded at ThisisQueens.com, is free and lists numerous Queens sites, restaurants, hotels and adventures that tourists and even residents can experience.

“This is going to help people around the world learn about all the great things they can do in Queens,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “And we’re not talking about the normal things. We talking about visiting 5 Pointz in Long Island City, we’re talking about taking kayak rides on the East River.”

The New York City Regional Economic Development Council supported the application and pushed for funding from the New York State Department of Economic Development, which gave the chamber $100,000 to develop it.

The app is expected to attract fans attending the upcoming MLB All Star Game at Citi Field next month, the U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in August and the 2014 Super Bowl at the Metlife Stadium next year.

After viewing the events visitors can use the app learn about unique sights, diverse restaurants or get exclusive deals from businesses in Queens.

“People use the Internet today for just about every part of their life and so to have this app sends a message to people all around the world that we are on the map,” said Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik. “It will bring a lot of tourism dollars here, a lot of investment and we are looking forward to that investment as the years go forward.”

“This is Queens” was developed in two-and-a-half months by Digital Natives, a digital marketing agency in Long Island City. The app is real time and will be upgraded to reflect changes to businesses and sites, such as the designation of Forest Park Carousel in Woodhaven as a landmark, which occurred the day before the app was launched.

Businesses and Queens sites already seem to be excited about the app.

“We have so many events, programs for the entire family, this [app] is great so that people know what is going on in Queens,” said Malika Granville, a spokesperson from Flushing Town Hall.“If they’re looking for something to do on a Sunday they zoom through the app and ‘oh Flushing Town Hall has free yoga.’”

The app is not optimized for iPads, however, so pictures and passages won’t appear as they should. And although the app represents the most diverse borough in New York, English is the only language currently available, while plans to add Spanish, Chinese, Korean and other languages are in the works.