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Astoria Park Amphitheater Too Expensive To Build All At Once; Project Will Be Broken Into Phases

Amphitheater rendering

Amphitheater rendering

Feb. 4, 2016 By Michael Florio

Those looking forward to an amphitheater in Astoria Park will have to wait.

The cost of the project exceeds the amount allocated by the City Council for its construction and it will now have to be built in phases over time, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.

For now, the agency can only commit to building an informal lounge area.

The Council allocated $4.7 million to the Parks Department for construction of the amphitheater project, which was expected to fill in a defunct diving pool and replace it with a platform stage space, seating for up to 500 people, new pavements and a new entrance directly to the theater.

However, bidding on the project recently closed and the lowest estimate for all the work was $7.3 million, according to the Parks Department.

“Bids are much, much higher than what we have in the budget,” Lewandowski said on Tuesday at the Astoria Park Alliance meeting. “It’s a builder’s market.”

Commissioner Lewandowski

Commissioner Lewandowski

Due to the high costs, the project will now be broken down into phases.

The first phase will be to fill in the diving pool, making the area once again usable to park goers who wish to lay their towels down there or even host events.

“Once we fill it in it will be usable public space,” Lewandowski said. “You can still host performances or events on there or use it as an area to lounge when the pool is open.”

The Parks Department is still figuring out the cost and timetable for building this initial lounge area.

“There are some tweaks that need to be made to do [this project] in phases,” Lewandowski said. “But we will move forward with the process of filling [the diving pool] in.”

Once completed, the agency will look into moving forward with additional phases, which would require additional funding, a Parks spokesperson said.

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James Everett

It wouldn’t be a bad idea if they took the money that they have set aside to make Astoria “cute” and used it to repave the streets. But rather than using materials that can’t stand up to the winter weather, use quality material so that a repaved street lasts longer than a year or two.

Harry Ballsagna

The only reason a dog run was funded is because only a few people showed up to vote for the discretionary funding initiatives. If people actually participated in the participatory budget process, maybe the money would have gone to better things.

L Jenn

If I had known about, I would have spoken up. The councilman’s office is not doing a good job at getting the word out and is basing proposals upon what a few people want. Toys for a few, not necessities.


Come on people, how hard or expensive is it to build a dog run. I don’t even have a dog.
They should put it in that decrepit price of concrete on the corner of 21st and Hoyt adjacent to the new workout park and Volleyball courts

Matthew Donnelly

You know NYC priorities are screwed up.They don’t seem to have any problem with funding and building a ”dog run” in Astoria Park.When it comes to Humans we have to play ”second Fiddle” Ladies and Gentleman the inmates are running the Asylum.

Joseph Patrick

i agree with Dolores Valdez. Repair the diving pool and use it for its original purpose.
an amphitheater in the park is a waste of money. Events are held there all the time using the hill by the Hells Gate Bridge. There is no need for an outdoor amphitheater in the pool area.

Dolores Valdez

I think Astoria Pool should be designated a landmark status. The funds should be used to fix the diving pool which has been closed for at least 40 years. Bring the pool back to it glory days..

Park Rez

A diving pool will never be feasible. The insurance cost, and litigious nature of local people would see it forever closed. Unfortunate but true. Not to mention as a pool, it would only be open for a little over two months a year. Creating a public space is a much more productive use of space.

L Jenn

The amphitheater is obviously way too expensive and very few people will use it. There are some pools in the city that do have diving, so that is a possibility. Even a low dive board would be welcome – kids should learn how to do that properly along with swimming lessons – and its not nearly as dangerous as a high dive.

James Everett

That’s a damned shame. Are people that greedy?
And in regards to your comment regarding the creation of public space as a productive use of space, I thought that that was what the park was for. It is supposed to be an open space for kids to run in.
Leave the park alone.


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