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Alley Pond Park

Gertrude Waldeyer Promenade at Oakland Lake

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This promenade bears the name of Gertrude Waldeyer (1908–1987), an active member of the Bayside community.  Born in Brooklyn, Waldeyer studied at Hunter College and later received her Master of Arts from Queens College. After marrying in 1931, she moved to Bayside, where she became an educator at Bayside High School and an environmentalist. A member of Community Board 11 and the Bayside Historical Society, Waldeyer also founded the Oakland Lake and Ravine Conservation Committee. 

In the 1930s, Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers lined the brook that feeds Oakland Lake with cement and, later the brook and a small pond leading into the lake were filled. In 1941, officials from the Sanitation and Health Departments worked with WPA workers to further fill in wetlands in an attempt to control the mosquito population. As Queens continued to grow, encroaching urbanization also threatened the lake. 

By the 1960s community groups like the Alley Restoration Committee started campaigns for the restoration of Alley Pond Park, and subsequently, in 1972, NYC Parks advanced rehabilitation plans. The Oakland Lake and Ravine Conservation Committee continued to pressure officials to protect the park through the 1970s and 1980s, with Waldeyer mapping freshwater wetland sites that supported the New York State Freshwater Act (1975). 

In 1987, Waldeyer passed away, but due to her hard work, NYC Parks spent nearly $1 million to restore Oakland Lake to its natural state. In 1988, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation designated the Oakland Lake area a Significant Habitat, buttressing the Oakland Lake Committee and Waldeyer’s efforts to protect the lake.

NYC Parks named the promenade in honor of Walderyer in 1989. Her passionate spirit for environmental conservation left its mark on those around her, and because of her efforts Oakland Lake is an impeccable example of restoration through grassroots efforts and has been preserved for future generations. 

Directions to Alley Pond Park

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