How fitting it is that – during Olmsted’s 200th birthday – New York City leaders are doing it again! Announced just last month, New York City is planning a brand new linear park, in the spirit of 1858 and the city’s historic creation of Central Park. 

Thanks go to Mayor Eric Adams, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, The Trust for Public Land, and many others who advocated for QueensWay, a comprehensive plan to reimagine an abandoned railroad corridor and vacant land as a 47-acre linear park. The project gives new meaning to “parks for all people” by ensuring that a historically underserved borough has access to vibrant and healthful open space. 

QueensWay will involve an initial investment of $35 million dollars to transform a vacant, city-owned corridor in Forest Hills into a five-acre park with 0.7 miles of greenway. In announcing the plan, the Mayor’s office noted that the project underscores the administration’s belief that parks are part of the city’s “core infrastructure.”

“One of our main goals at Parks is to expand our thriving parks system, and, thanks to this new $35 million investment …New Yorkers will have access to a brand-new green space and greenway in their neighborhood,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This investment in the Met Hub and the future QueensWay strikes to the core of several of this administration’s top parks priorities, including safer transportation in and around our parks, more parkland and green space, and connecting more New Yorkers to a park within walking distance of where they live.”

Conceptual renderings of the QueensWay Metropolitan Hub. Credit: Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay

In the spirit of Olmsted, the linear park will provide residents with new open space, improved access to recreational amenities, outdoor education opportunities for students, and a safe transportation corridor connecting people to schools, businesses, and 10 bus lines.  

The project is the result of an extensive community-governmental collaboration that included public and stakeholder workshops, information tables at local community events and festivals, and more than 20 public tours

“Queens communities experience many glaring inequities in parks access and transportation opportunities, and the QueensWay is the perfect way to address both of those issues,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. 

Dede Petri is the CEO of the National Association for Olmsted Parks, the managing partner of Olmsted 200.