Kayak And Canoe Launch Ramp Opens In Queens Park
It may have been the last day of summer Saturday, but one Queens park gave New Yorkers a reason to stay in the water.
After the official ribbon cutting ceremony, New Yorkers geared up to make a splash in Jamaica Bay, using the new kayak and canoe launch in Idlewild Park Preserve.
The preserve is part of the New York City water trail, which is a network of waterways that connects the city’s parks. The Parks Department is thrilled about the launch, but some neighbors say it’s just another headache.
“I think it’s bad,” said resident Angel Flores. “Bad because we have rollover parking. We have garbage all around and we have to clean it.”
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says the preserve is worth tens of millions of dollars in flood drainage and storm protection. And he says the new kayak launch is a great thing for the neighborhood.
“What we’re doing here is creating great value. We’ve got beautiful plantings of roses. We’ve cleaned it up; we’ve made it safe,” said Benepe. “I think this will actually increase neighborhood property values.”
This area was not always so full of nature.
“We had no access to any of the waterways and we really viewed most of our waterways as toxic, as a dumping ground,” said Assemblywoman Michele Titus.
“If you understand the psychology of kayakers, the fact that were trying to clean it up should tell you something about how we respect the environment,” said kayaker Fran Pignatello.
The city is working on compiling a guide for kayakers who want to navigate this and the rest of the city’s 600 miles of waterfront. The guide is supposed to be on the web by March.
For more details on how you can take advantage of the New York water trail, check out www.nyc.gov/parks.