Nov. 19, 2021 By Max Parrott
A long-time Astoria eyesore located on Hallets Cove will be torn down to make way for a beautified shorefront area that will be publicly accessible.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined representatives from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, former City Councilmember Costa Constantinides and Councilmember-elect Tiffany Cabán on Thursday to break ground on a project that will see the demolition of an abandoned pier located south of the Hallets Cove Playground.
The project, a partnership between the borough president’s office, the former councilmember and the EDC, calls for the demolition of the dilapidated pier and the clearance of debris to make the area accessible to the public. The pier has been fenced off from the community for years.
“While much of the rest of the western Queens waterfront has been developed into beautiful hubs of culture and community, Hallets Cove was left behind,” Richards said in a statement. “This restoration project will end Hallets Cove’s neglect and beautify what has long been a blight on this community.”
The project’s goal is to replace the pier with “a serene hub of nature and leisure.” In addition to replacing the esplanade railing in that section of the Hallets Cove, the plan includes replacing invasive plant species in the area with trees and new wetland vegetation that will support tidal flats. The project is anticipated to be completed by next spring.
Constantinides said that residents of Astoria Houses, the NYCHA development located next to the decrepit pier, have been calling for the revamp for years.
He said Claudia Coger, the president of the tenants’ association for the Astoria Houses, brought it to his attention shortly after he became a councilmember in 2014 that it was need of improvement.
Constantinides had initially proposed constructing a kayak dock in that section of Hallets Cove in 2015. However, he said, it ended up not being feasible based on its proximity to the ferry.
He said that there were a lot of challenges in putting together the plan—since it involved the water.
“You have the Army Corps of Engineers, you have the Department of Environmental Conservation, the EDC, which owns the property. So there was a lot of back and forth about the logistics,” Constantinides said.
The total cost of the project is $5 million, of which $3 million had been allocated by the Borough President’s Office across Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. The Mayor’s Office and Constantinides’ office each allocated $1 million in funding.
The pier demolition project is separate from the multimillion-dollar restoration of the concrete seawall along Hallets Cove that is currently taking place.
That project, which is being overseen by the Parks Dept., comes at a cost of $6.5 million in mayoral funds. It was initially budgeted for $4.7 million, according to Patch.
The goal is to fix portions of the seawall that have deteriorated from storms and erosion. It also involves the installation of new railings along the section of Hallets Cove north of the blighted pier.
The project was expected to be completed this past September but the project’s scope was expanded, according to the Parks Dept.
“The original scope of work was to reconstruct 850 linear feet of sea rail, but we are now going to reconstruct the entire site, adding an additional 1,000 linear feet of sea railing to the scope,” a Parks Dept. spokesperson said.
The updated completion date is now spring 2022.
Constantinides said that he had also heard that construction materials had been delayed due to supply chain issues.