As it turns out, many in the neighborhood are unaware of talks to either turn an abandoned LIRR rail line into a High Line-style park or revive rail service.
“What does that mean?” asked one restaurant employee, as she was just an employee at a nearby restaurant.
She added that she would support developments, stating that people often drink on the abandoned tracks.
One after another, residents in the Woodhaven neighborhood were oblivious to any proposed developments.
Alex Rabr, a resident of 86th Avenue and whose property is in close proximity to the tracks, said that while he was unaware of the developments, he would support them if they had the interests of the people in mind, and not just out for profit.
“I don’t know what is going on, so for me it’s difficult,” Rabr said. “If it’s reasonable, why not? If, for example, the budget is $100, they spend just one dollar put $99 back in their pocket, then of course no.”
In name alone, NoWay QueensWay speaks for itself. Their banner-posting protest comes one week after representatives from the group spoke at a Community Board 9 meeting at Villa Russo’s at 118-16 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill.
In a transcript of those public comments, posted on their website at www.nowayqueensway.org, the organization states its protest against “the latest campaign by the San Francisco-based Trust for Public Lands and their local lapdogs,” adding that, “this campaign is designed to slander the good people of Woodhaven and Ozone Park by describing the neighborhood as an ‘eyesore, littered and graffiti-filled.’”
One of the organization’s main concerns in cleaning up the “littered” tracks is opening up the pathway to allow additional criminal mischief along their adjacent yards.
“Admittedly, it is overgrown,” notes the group. “We like it that way. It prevents the rapists and thieves from bicycling down from Forest Park and gaining access to our backyards and families.”
Woodhaven resident John Hammersley lives on 98th Street, right across from the abandoned tracks, and agrees that a park is a bad idea.
“My feelings are, let’s put the train up there, and not a walkway up there, because now if you do, that’s people walking down here onto my property,” Hammersley said. “Train, you won’t see anybody walking down here.”
A bus operator with NYC Transit for the last 25 years,
Hammersely has also been a Woodhaven resident for the last 26 years and is more than welcoming to the idea of revitalizing the Rockaway Beach Line.
“I grew up above the trains,” he said. “There won’t be any noise coming around here, and that train will come right through and be out.”