Queens West is a new mixed-use community planned for the Long Island City shoreline, directly across from midtown Manhattan and the United Nations. Central to its urban plan is an extensive open space system that includes upland and waterfront parks as well as streetscape. Thomas Balsley Associates, in collaboration with Sowinski Sullivan and Lee Weintraub and a diverse roster of consultants was selected by the Queens West Development Corporation and Empire State Development Corporation to prepare an open space master plan that would guide the phased open space development and establish strict design guidelines.
Beginning with conceptual plans and alternatives presented to an assembled task force, the effort culminated in a full schematic design plan for the projectís open spaces that has been documented in an illustrated report and 50-drawing CAD package, which addresses, in detail, every important open space component, including waterfront bulkheads and piers, park materials, planting, grading, utilities, signage, lighting and interpretive devices. Separate reports on phasing, capital costs, operating expenses, maintenance, durability, replacements, park programming and concessions were prepared prior to the master planís final approval. The design teams continue with work on full construction documents for the $15 million Phase I Park, which was completed in 1999. This diverse system of urban open space offers unmatched passive and active opportunities on or near the water but, more importantly, serves as the thread that stitches the new community to itself, its surrounding community, and the river.