June 29, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A gritty section of the Hallets Cove peninsula along the Astoria waterfront has undergone a major overhaul and local leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the site Wednesday.
The inlet, located off the East River on Vernon Boulevard near 30th Road, was once a major eyesore for Astoria residents consisting of a decaying 70-year-old pier, invasive plants and mountains of garbage.
The old pier has been torn down, with the revamp including the removal of debris and trash that was strewn along the riverbank. The overhaul also included the planting of new trees as well as new wetland vegetation, with the goal of restoring the area’s natural ecology.
Trees that had grown within the site’s retaining wall have also been cut down and replaced by a chain-link fence with a new railing. Despite the upgrades, the beach area is not accessible to the public.
The project cost $5 million and the plans were first unveiled by former Council Member Costa Constantinides in 2015. Constantinides’ office allocated $1 million toward the revitalization project with former Borough President Melinda Katz investing another $3 million, while former Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $1 million. The city partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to renovate the site.
After years of delays, ground was broken on the project in November and local leaders were on hand Wednesday to mark its completion with a ribbon-cutting event.
The ribbon was cut by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Councilmember Tiffany Cabán, EDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball, Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris and the president of the Astoria Houses Tenant Association Claudia Coger.
The completion of the project, Richards said, means that the Hallets Point coastal area will no longer be a blight on the neighborhood. The inlet is located next to the Astoria Houses NYCHA complex and faces the Astoria Ferry Terminal.
“The space has been transformed into the kind of oasis this community deserves, and that every community deserves,” Richards said.
“Finally, we have beautiful new trees, new wetlands, new railings and more.”
Constantinides had initially proposed constructing a kayak dock in that section of Hallets Cove in 2015. However, he said in 2020 that it ended up not being feasible based on its proximity to the ferry.