July 13, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The state has completed a $2 million project to repair a section of shoreline at Gantry Plaza State Park that was damaged nearly nine years ago by Superstorm Sandy.
The work also included an additional $17,000 spent on patching up a gaping hole on the boardwalk at Pier 3 that was scorched by illegal fireworks on New Year’s Day.
The pathways at the site where the shoreline repairs were made – behind the southernmost gantry at Gantry Plaza State Park – were closed off to the public for construction beginning in October while all piers remained opened.
However, Pier 3 – as well as its connecting walk bridge – were closed for safety reasons after the wooden floorboards were damaged by fireworks after midnight on New Year’s Day.
All closed-off areas were fully reopened to the public during the first week of July, according to Leslie Wright, regional director of the New York State Parks Dept.
Wright said the redevelopment of the shoreline finished on time and within budget.
The project restored an area behind the southernmost gantry at Gantry Plaza State Park that was damaged by flooding by the 2012 storm.
Some of the landscaping work included repairing the gardens and shrubbery, refurbishing benches and putting down new granite blocks. The pathways were also rebuilt.
The sloping structure that protects the riverbank, known as a revetment, was also repaired and revamped after more than 20 years of tidal damage from the East River that has caused erosion.
The revetment was redesigned by engineers to protect the riverbank from continued erosion, which included installing large blocks or boulders.
While the landscaped area was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the “mighty and unforgiving East River has been naturally eating away at the riverbank for a number of years,” Wright told the Queen Posts in November.
This section of the shoreline was historically used as a dockyard but the riverbank and shoreline were reconstructed in 1998 when the area was transformed into Gantry Plaza State Park.
Wright said that the constant tidal action coupled with boat traffic along the river has caused a considerable amount of erosion to the riverbank since the park opened. The riverbank also had large granite steps leading visitors down to the water when it first opened but they have since been eroded by the force of the river and have not been replaced.
The boat launch and docking area on Pier 4 – which is used to launch hand-powered boats like kayaks and rowboats – was also repaired as part of the redevelopment project.
Meanwhile, Wright said that the fire damage to Pier 3 was extensive.
An FDNY investigation revealed the floorboards caught fire from illegal fireworks that were set off on the boardwalk, Wright said.
“The fire resulted in damage to the decking and certain joists, and the railing required replacement as well,” Wright said.
The blaze tore a large hole that was estimated to be around 8 feet long and 6 feet wide. The damage is located at the beginning of the pier.
Police said that no arrests have been made in relation to the incident.
The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy said it is extremely pleased that the repair work has been completed.
“Whether walking or sitting down, this provides another special location for visitors at Gantry Plaza State Park,” said Rob Basch, president of the HPPC.
Let’s hope the marauding packs of dirtbike riding, Hennessy chuggin’, noise polluting louts don’t wreak more havoc on this beautiful space.