June 26, 2020 By William Patrick Smith
A prominent strip in Hunters Point is about to get a makeover.
The Newtown Creek Alliance, an organization that focuses on revitalizing the Newtown Creek, is partnering with the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy to beautify a stretch of 48th Avenue between 5th Street and Center Boulevard.
The project will focus on the center median along 48th Avenue, a wide space that has not been cared for in recent years and where the vegetation is in poor condition.
The plan involves removing the existing vegetation and putting down a “pollinator garden.” The new garden will feature plants—such as Panicum virgatum and Sporobolus heterolepis— that are the type that attract bees, butterflies and small birds. The plants will be colorful and aim to light up the strip.
The project will involve students from PS/IS 78Q and the Hunters Point Community Middle School, who will help maintain it while learn about urban ecology. The children will write reports on the benefits of pollinator gardens.
The 48th Avenue stretch is a major pedestrian route from Vernon Boulevard down to the Hunters Point Library and the waterfront parks. The median is disheveled, a magnet for trash.
“The median runs right into the park. It does not look very good and is full of weeds,” said Lisa Bloodgood, Director of Advocacy and Education with the Newtown Creek Alliance.
Bloodgood said the project is also a step toward improving the ecology of Long Island City.
“Smaller, easier projects such as this one that have meaning to the community…help the rest of the ecosystem,” she said.
Casey Chamberlain, manager of programming and development for the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, believes that the restoration and maintenance of the strip will upgrade the area. He said that many people may also think twice about throwing away their garbage in that area.
The plans still have to be approved by the Department of Transportation, although Chamberlain said that the agency is supportive of the concept.
The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and the Newtown Creek Alliance will do the planting work and aim to begin later this year. The children will mainly be involved in maintaining the strip and studying it.
The project is being funded by the NYC Environmental Fund.