Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

Long Island City residents now have 5.5 more acres of park to enjoy.

On June 27, the New York City Economic Development Corporation NYCEDC, Queens elected officials and other attendees gathered to celebrate the completion of Hunter Point Park’s second phase.

“We recognize that Long Island City has been historically underserved by parks because of its industrial past, but we’ve been converting what we can to turn as much former, industrial waterfront into green space as possible,” said James Patchett, the president and CEO of the NYCEDC.

The second phase of the Hunters Point Park has been opened to the public since June 21 and features several state-of-the-art amenities. Parkgoers are now able to enjoy the scenic waterfront views as well as fitness equipment, a linear park, a kayak launch and various walking paths.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer recalled his time serving on Community Board 2, which he credits with helping the park come into fruition.

“I was on the land use committee of Community Board 2 at that time when Joe [Conley] was our chair, and people wanted this park to be one that was as green as it is, with as much passive recreation as it is and to have so much in this park that was envisioned there,” the councilman said.

Right across the street from the festivities, a group of Citylights protesters gathered to demand that the city authorize renegotiation of the building’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement before a tax bill puts their homes at risk.

“As this community grows, as these beautiful amenities are opened here, that this has not just become a playground for the wealthy,” Senator Gianaris said.

The senator addressed the Citylights protesters directly, and asked Patchett to communicate a message to the city.

“Yes, the state needs to step up, but the city needs to step up too, because these are the people who have made this community what it is. These are the people who have made it so desirable for others to come here, and the last thing we want to do is drive them out of the neighborhood because it becomes too expensive,” he said.

Last week, Citylights residents protested for the state to take action, outside of the LIC Summit. As a result, the state responded that they are “ready and willing with a workable solution to address the needs of residents of Citylights and we are waiting on the city‘s mandated written consent to move forward.”

“Decades ago, I bought my apartment at Citylights because I was promised it would stay affordable. Now, because of government failure, I am at risk of losing my home. The government made this mess and now it’s time for them to clean it up,” said Citylights resident Brett Crandall.

Other attendees at the park’s ribbon cutting included NYC Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Rob Basch, the president of the Hunters Point Park Conservancy and Denise Keehan-Smith, the chairwoman of Community Board 2.

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