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Shoreline at Gantry Plaza State Park Undergoing Extensive Repair

Work being carried out at Gantry Plaza State Park on Nov. 3, 2020 (Michael Dorgan Queens Post)

Nov. 5, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

The state is currently undertaking a $2 million project to repair a section of shoreline at Gantry Plaza State Park that was damaged eight years ago by Superstorm Sandy.

The project aims to restore an area behind the southern most gantry at Gantry Plaza State Park that was damaged by flooding by the 2012 storm.

The sloping structure that protects the riverbank, known as a revetment, is also being repaired and revamped after more than 20 years of tidal damage from the East River that has caused erosion.

The revetment, which is comprised of rocks, is being redesigned by engineers to protect the riverbank from continued erosion.

Construction work began in early October and is expected to be completed by next summer, according to Leslie Wright, regional director of the New York State Parks Dept.

“The project includes reshaping the natural shoreline revetment…restoring the adjacent landscaping and park pathways, and restoring the park’s boat launch and dock,” Wright said.

An image of the riverbank taken in 1998. The area has suffered considerable damage over the last two decades due to the force of the East River (Image provided by Mark Christie).

Some of the landscaping work includes repairing the gardens and shrubbery, refurbishing benches and fixing broken lights.

The pathways at the site have been blocked off and will remain so for the duration of the project. The state has already dug up the pathways and they are being resurfaced, Wright said.

The state has kept Pier 3 and Pier 4 open to pedestrians.

The pathway behind the unmarked gantry to the left of the picture is blocked off for safety reasons but the Pier is still accessible to pedestrians (Michael Dorgan Queens Post).

Wright said that while the landscaped area was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the “mighty and unforgiving East River has been naturally eating away at the riverbank for a number of years.”

This section of the shoreline was historically used as a dockyard but the riverbank and shoreline were reconstructed in 1998 when the area was transformed into Gantry Plaza State Park.

Wright said that the constant tidal action coupled with boat traffic along the river has caused a considerable amount of erosion to the riverbank since the park opened.

She said that state engineers have learned more about how the water behaves and are redesigning and reinforcing the revetment to prevent future damage.

“We have built upon that knowledge and the revetment was designed to withstand natural wave and tidal activity as well as surges for the longest possible time,” Wright said.

The riverbank also had large granite steps leading visitors down to the water when it first opened but they have since been eroded by the force of the river.

The steps will not be replaced under the plan. Instead the state will be installing large blocks to protect the shoreline.

The boat launch and docking area on Pier 4 – which is used to launch hand-powered boats like kayaks and rowboats – is also being repaired, she said.

“The dock is old and needs refurbishment and won’t be available until we get it fixed,” Wright said.

Shoreline Stabilization and Rehabilitation Gantry Plaza State Park (New York Parks)

Work being carried out at Gantry Plaza State Park on Nov. 3, 2020 (Michael Dorgan Queens Post)

The seating area at Gantry Plaza State Park on Nov. 3, 2020 (Michael Dorgan Queens Post)

The pathway behind the unmarked gantry is blocked off for safety reasons but Pier 4 is still accessible by foot (Michael Dorgan Queens Post)

An image of the original plaza area taken in 1998 (Provided by Mark Christie)

An image of the shoreline plaza area taken in 1998 (Provided by Mark Christie)

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