Bellerose unveils new reading garden, culminating decade-long community project

Photo courtesy of the office of New York State Senator John C. Liu

After a ten-year wait, the Bellerose community, along with key political figures, celebrated the grand opening of the Bellerose Reading Garden next to P.S. 133Q and the Bellerose Playground on Monday, June 10.

State Senator John Liu, instrumental in reviving the stalled project located at 85th Avenue between 248th Street and 249th Street, cut the ribbon amidst the colorful foliage of newly planted trees and shrubs.

The garden, which will serve as both an educational resource for P.S. 133Q during school hours and a community space afterward, features benches, game tables and vibrant concrete pathways. “Good things come to those who wait,” said Senator Liu, who has been a fierce advocate for the project since taking office in 2019. “This is one of the finest examples of what’s possible when our community comes together.”

The project, first funded in 2014, faced initial delays due to coordination challenges. It gained momentum with Senator Liu’s collaboration with the State Dormitory Authority, NYC Parks Department, the Bellerose Civic Association and Community Board 13, securing the necessary design and funding in 2019. Despite further delays caused by the pandemic, construction began last year, culminating in the garden’s completion.

Photo courtesy of the office of New York State Senator John C. Liu

“This project was a top priority for my office, and it is incredibly gratifying to celebrate its completion today,” Liu remarked. “The Bellerose Reading Garden will offer a unique learning environment for our school children and a peaceful retreat for community members, including many seniors.”

The area, formerly part of the 11th District, now falls under the representation of State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, due to recent redistricting. “I am delighted that this project has finally become a reality,” said Senator Stavisky. “I know that everyone, from the students at P.S. 133Q to the members of the Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association, will enjoy this space.”

NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Jackie Langsam thanked Senator Liu for his continued support for Queens Parks, “We are thrilled to open the Bellerose Reading Garden, which will serve as a serene and inviting outdoor classroom for P.S. 133Q students and local community members.”

“This beautiful reading garden is now a place where our community can truly enjoy and be proud of,” said Matthew Paolano, Principal of P.S. 133Q. “It enhances our ability to support the social and emotional well-being of our students and staff.”

Lourdhura Villanueva Hartrick, President of the Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association, emphasized the importance of perseverance. “This is a great example for our kids of what is possible when you are persistent and never give up,” Hartrick stated. “We are so grateful to have this beautiful space where our community can come together.”