Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

The Daily Plant : Monday, March 8, 2004


On Friday, the Plant focused on two of the initiatives addressed in Commissioner Adrian Benepe’s Greenprint speech: the fostering of partnerships and Putting Children First. Today, Part Two of that summary focuses on Commissioner Benepe’s third and fourth initiatives: “Developing the Waterfront” and “Greening New York City.”

Commissioner Benepe emphasized the importance of waterfront development to improving quality of life and spurring economic development in New York City. To open up the waterfront, Parks & Recreation, under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, has partnered with a number of city, state, and federal agencies, including the EPA, EDC, DOT, and the City Planning Commission. Working with these and other organizations, Parks & Recreation is developing Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Ocean Breeze Park Pier, and the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, and is restoring waterfronts in Red Hook, Gerritsen Creek, Spring Creek Park, and on Staten Island’s north shore. Commissioner Benepe also praised lifeguard recruitment efforts and the recreational and educational programs run by the Urban Park Rangers.

Another area of focus, “Greening New York,” highlighted Parks & Recreation’s horticultural and environmental initiatives, noting ongoing successes with Greenstreets, playground and “greeting” gardens, and the Daffodil Project. Again underscoring the importance of public-private partnerships, Commissioner Benepe described recent gardening projects, such as Piet Oudolf’s gardens at The Battery, the Heather Garden’s $1 million endowment, and the upcoming British gardens in Hanover Square. The Commissioner spoke about the importance of “thinking green,” outlining Parks & Recreation’s most successful efforts to conserve resources by using plastic signs, recycling holiday trees, installing synthetic turf fields, and driving energy-efficient vehicles. With visual images of Parks & Recreation’s most pristine natural areas behind him, the Commissioner then spoke about the importance of natural area restoration. “We embrace green design so that our city’s wildest, most beautiful places don’t unravel under urban pressures,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Our work cleans air, improves water quality, and ensures that we will not be the last generation of New Yorkers to enjoy a long walk in an unbroken forest.”

The Commissioner closed his remarks with a discussion of Drumgoole Plaza, a recent Parks & Recreation project just outside of the auditorium, that, with the help of partnerships, was completed in just five months. Quoting novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, he called New York City’s parks “places of enchantment” and charged audience members to help Parks & Recreation forge new partnerships in the months ahead.

Written by Hannah Gersen


“an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible...”

Elizabeth Bishop
“At the Fishhouses,” 1955

Directions to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

Know Before You Go

BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Beach access is currently closed from Beach 38 Street to Beach 57 Street to protect the sensitive nesting areas of threatened and endangered shorebirds. Beach access in these areas will open again in late August. To learn more, please visit our Rockaway Beach Endangered Species Nesting Area page.

ParkPaerdegat Basin Park

Ecology Park hours are 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Fridays-Sundays, through September 5.

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