Add concession to Astoria Park renovation
Mar 08, 2017 | 2055 views | 3 3 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The $30 million Astoria Park renovation is a golden opportunity for the community to create a world-class attraction that draws tourists as well as residents all year round.

While there has been much discussion about how to spend the money to upgrade the infrastructure, more can be said about making the park the centerpiece of a master plan that would put it in the same league as Central Park.

For decades, residents and businesses have been waiting for Astoria and Long Island City to be on the radar for alternatives to residential Manhattan.

We have witnessed the recent transformation of the area into the best place in New York City to live. Now’s the time to renovate the park with the neighborhood's new standing in mind.

Community visioning meetings about Astoria Park have elicited a variety of specific “wish list” items.

One common request is for a permanent concession stand that would sell hot chocolate in the winter and ice cream in the summer.

A concession stand has limited potential, but a 50-seat coffee shop/bakery designed by a leading architect will become a major attraction.

The Astoria Park Bake Shop, our version of Tavern on the Green, would be a five-star glittering greenhouse set amid towering trees.

It would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year from a modestly priced menu created by a celebrity chef, and serve as a venue for weddings and other formal events.

It would generate foot traffic to the mom-and-pop businesses on Ditmars Boulevard, and would be an asset if the plan to convert the diving pool into an event space is ever realized.

And the beauty of it is that it would not alter the park’s footprint. It could be erected in the parking lot or sited on the concrete deck above the swimming pool.

This is not an expensive proposition; prospective vendors would submit design/build proposals, leaving the $30 million untouched.

A design competition, similar to the one run for Governor’s Island, would give Astoria residents voting rights and bring national and international publicity to the area.

The Astoria Park Bake Shop would become not only the crown jewel of the park, but also would be the catalyst for other commerce.

The proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector will more than likely be routed to stop at the park, making the 21st Street corridor and nearby Welling Court area prime spots for artist boutiques and other hip shops.

Thus, a visit to Astoria Park becomes a fun-and-sun day trip.

A big-picture version of Astoria Park and the surrounding area requires not only good ideas, but great planning.

This is a chance for the community to cull proposals from major architects to create a vision that will carry Astoria Park well into its second century.

Comments
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Peter Astorian
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March 09, 2017
This park is an open space where people go for some peace and quiet, away from the buildings and bustle. You want to add a restauarant and event space? Think of all the noise that would be generated from these places from people, kitchen areas, and building vents and fans plus the garbage that will bring rats to the park.

The park doesn't need a business to bring people there, it needs more ways for people to enjoy its green space. A simple brick shack would do for serving hot chocolate and ice cream from.

Maybe a bird feeder area can be maintained, planting trees and having staff filling feeders regularly.

An accessible waterfront would be a major asset, with kayak or canoe rental at times when the current is not too strong.

The shoreline now is rocky but maybe a section of it could be transformed into an artificial beach. Swimming would not be advised but a sandy area for launching kayaks and lying on to sunbathe would be nice.
Adam F
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March 09, 2017
Come on... you're complaining about the noise "all the people" would make in a public park? Where there's a POOL? And two bridges with cars and trains thundering along? Garbage isnt particularly well dealt with now either. Beginning to think complainers just don't want anything to be different.
Derek C
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March 10, 2017
Astoria Park isn't going to be like Central Park. People aren't going to come to Astoria from other boroughs JUST FOR Astoria Park. Having a restaurant and event space there would be a nice addition but difficult to get business due to it being a 15 minute or so walk from the nearest subway station.

@Adam, it looks like that person did have ideas for some changes/additions, so it doesn't sound like they don't want any changes.