The March 29th children’s mobile workshop at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills was led by Shelma Jun of the Hester Street Collaborative, a community engagement nonprofit, and Friends of the QueensWay volunteers, Travis Terry of Forest Hills and Ruben Ramales of Woodhaven.
“Through our QueensWay workshops, we are coordinating fun activities for students in kindergarten through grade 12,” said Ramales. “We want to get ideas from kids in schools or afterschool programs, since they can be very positive and creative,”
At last week's workshop, Jun displayed a foldout aerial map and explained how the area varies in width. For example, the old railroad right of way is 72 feet wide near Jamaica Avenue, but 133 feet wide adjacent to the school where the event took place.
“Where an area is really wide, we can introduce lots of activities,” she said.
The children were then asked to place buttons pinpointing activities, ranging from bird watching to community gardens to food festivals, along specific stretches.
The children were also given a QueensWay History Coloring Book illustrating the line’s origins to its abandonment, and showed how some sections grew wild and others began housing businesses below. The last steps encouraged the kids to imagine how an old railroad can be transformed into a park.
In 1962, a small section of the line succumbed to a fire, and officials responded by decommissioning the entire line, which runs from the Rockaways through south Queens to Forest Hills. Friends of the QueensWay envisions converting the tracks into a High Line-style park.
According to the Trust for Public Land, which is working with Friends of the Queensway, the proposed park would serve 250,000 residents living within a mile of it.
Thanks to a grant from the state, WXY architecture +urban design and dlandstudio were recently joined by the collaborative in debuting preliminary design renderings last week at two community events.
To reach residents who are unable to attend major workshops, QueensWay mobile workshops will continue to be held for residents to contribute ideas and pose questions.