Environment / Parks

New park to open near Fish Market

Kimberly Devi Milner

The new one-acre park Hunts Point Landing on Farragut St. is set to open this month.

Hunts Point Landing will be new waterfront destination

Kimberly Devi Milner

The new one-acre park Hunts Point Landing on Farragut St. is set to open this month.

An eagerly anticipated one-acre park will soon bring kayaking and fishing to a part of Hunts Point better known for industry and truck traffic.

Hunts Point Landing, the latest link in the city’s ambitious South Bronx Greenway project, is slated to open at the end of the summer at the foot of Farragut St. on the shore of the East River near the New Fulton Fish Market.

The new park will feature a kayak launch and a fishing pier, representing a tiny but crucial part of the broader plan to green the area and provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

But accessing Hunts Point Landing on foot won’t be easy, at first. Pedestrians will have to cross wide, desolate streets and contend with truck traffic to get there.

“It’s quite a [walk] to get there, like anything else in this neighborhood,” said the artist, Bio, of the Hunts Point artist collective Tats Cru, which was commissioned to paint the outdoor furniture in the new park.

Advocates for more South Bronx park space hope that will change soon, as additional links in the greenway are added along the waterfront over the next decade.

“Eventually, people will be able to use green streets to get there,” said Kendrick Martinez, 17, a former president of the youth activist group A.C.T.I.O.N. at The Point Community Development Corp.

Construction is expected to start later this year on a new link connecting the food distribution markets to the rest of the greenway. To make travel safer and the greenway more accessible, Food Center Drive will be converted into a one-way street, and will be lined with new street trees and flanked by a new bike lane. City officials anticipate that phase of the project will be completed some time in 2014.

The city had previously announced the new park would open last year, but design and permitting complications have delayed the process, according to a spokesman from the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Kyle Sklerov.

Since the city introduced its plans to build the greenway in 2006, hundreds of trees have been planted along Hunts Point and Lafayette avenues. Overall, the plan calls for a 1.5 mile ribbon of green that will stretch across the waterfront, over eight miles of street trees and shrubs, and nearly 12 acres of open space along the waterfront.

“People sometimes don’t realize we’re fortunate to have all this water around us. A project like this reopens doors to those resources,” said Tats Cru artist Nicer.

In all, the city will spend nearly $50 million for the first round of the project, including tree planting, drainage re-routing on Food Center Drive, and construction of a pedestrian pathway between E. 132nd and Randall’s Island in Port Morris.

Despite the delays, residents are excited to see the project evolving. Community organizer Sharon de La Cruz of The Point thinks that, along with making the neighborhood more attractive, the new greenway will help traffic flow more smoothly on local streets. Still, she looks forward to the day when the project is better publicized so residents know it exists, and easier to get to.

“It’s so inaccessible it doesn’t even show up on Google Earth,” she said.

Others are confident the greenway will get residents outside more.

“Everybody wants to go somewhere new with a little bit of green,” said truck driver Lonnie Knox, 50, who works at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market. “Residents will make the trip down.”

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