View of Manhattan from Queens

View of Manhattan from Queens.
gary yim /


Following in the green, trendsetting footsteps of Chelsea’s High Line Park, Queens has proposed plans for a very ecological facelift. The High Line Park is the result of a remarkable restoration project in which a crumbling, elevated rail line was transformed into a one-of-a-kind “floating park.” National Geographic contributor Paul Goldberger calls the park a “miracle above Manhattan,” and adds that it is “one of the most innovative and inviting public spaces in New York City and perhaps the entire country.”

With a reputation like that, it’s no wonder that Queens desires its very own unique green space. Recently, developers such as WXY Architecture + Urban Design, Dlandstudio Architecture & Landscape, and others have proposed taking cues from the High Line Park and improving the QueensWay. The QueensWay is a nearly four-mile stretch of abandoned railway tracks in Queens, which has been inactive since the mid-1960s. It’s an area that begs to be transformed into an urban green space, and one that architects and development are lining up to get their hands on.

The attention the QueensWay is receiving from development firms comes as little surprise; Queens has been working to revitalize its appearance for some time now. The Jamaica Center has recently undergone a transformation, emerging as a new and improved cultural hub with help from the Carl Mattone real estate company, Mattone Group. Queens’ waterfront has also been undergoing massive changes due to the large development projects Hallets Point and Astoria Cove that are literally changing the face of this borough.

Susannah Drake, principal of Dlandstudio, explains, “Connected ecologies, whether they are natural, social, or cultural – are critical in the urban environment. Where Central Park is the heart and lungs of Manhattan, QueensWay with sensitive design can become a critical artery of green open space for a diverse, vibrant community offering opportunity for recreation, education, community gathering and ecological productivity in our great city.” Giving the QueensWay a green makeover would benefit everyone in Queens, and if the project turns out anything like the High Line Park, it will impact even more.

What do you think about urban restoration projects like the High Line Park and the QueensWay?