The 1-mile corridor of Queens Boulevard that runs from the Sunnyside Yards in Long Island City to the East River has been not only inhospitable but dangerous. Crossing the many lanes of traffic, some of which took unpredictable curving turns up onto the Queensboro Bridge, could be deadly, as a number of traffic deaths over the years proved. It was difficult to find your way from north to south, bridging the two low-density neighborhoods on each side. Bicyclists could hardly find their way through this morass of metal and asphalt.
The new landscape had to reinvent Queens Plaza as a place where it’s easy to find the way to the subway or the bus, where people are happy riding their bikes from home to work, and where the industrial character of Long Island City is retained but the neighborhood made more livable. The new landscape also had to change Queens Plaza from gray to green, reinventing it as a desirable civic landscape.
The reinvention of Queens Plaza does not eliminate or screen or seek to obscure the massive infrastructure of roadway and elevated. The design takes the forces at work, such as stormwater pouring down from the bridges, and turns them into something positive.