Queens is inching closer and closer to getting its very own High Line, the QueensWay, but not all borough residents are so excited about the new elevated park plans. A Woodhaven resident has been airing his opposition to the park through his blog NoWay QueensWay, and he's urging other people in Queens to get on board.
Neil Giannelli lives on 98th Street, just under the abandoned Rockaway train line the city plans to renovate for the park. He says that despite assurance from officials that construction will have the opposite effect, the QueensWay will be invasive, deplete property values on his block, and bring down the overall quality of life in the neighborhood. "I'm concerned about safety and privacy," he told DNAinfo, echoing all those complaints from High Line neighbors over the years.
Giannelli, 56, has also brought up financial issues related to the park, pointing out that his neighborhood and other parts of Queens could use the funds put toward the QueensWay to clean up their infrastructure. "Our existing streets, our existing parks, and our existing sewer system are all poorly maintained due to budgetary restraints," he wrote on his blog. "Street trees need pruning. Sidewalks need repair. Graffiti needs to be removed. Let’s maintain what we have before we start building new stuff." He says plenty of people in his neighborhood agree with him, and he's not alone in questioning the QueensWay's logistics; the Woodhaven Residents Block Association has raised issue with the increased need for parking the park would bring. Community Board 9.
Meanwhile, the Trust for Public Land has received a nearly $500,000 grant to research the area and assess whether and how the park will be built, so QueensWay naysayers have at least some time to protest before the Il Laboratorio del Gelato carts descend.