Sunset Park residents, local dignitaries cut ribbon on new Bush Terminal Park
It has been built and they have come.
After years of delays, the ribbon was finally cut on the new Bush Terminal Parks Pier on Wednesday, November 12. Local dignitaries were in attendance, along with the Sunset Park community, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and members of UPROSE, to celebrate the park on a sunny afternoon.
“I have to say this is one of the most dramatic views I’ve seen in a long time,” said Silver. “I’m sure people will be coming here again and again, which is what you want.”
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca touched on the significance of the opening and the significance of residents’ role in the community. “This is a story of continued perseverance and vision,” he said. “It’s a continued commitment to this kind of community process.”
Bush Terminal Piers Park was once a shipping and manufacturing hub. Today, it touts scenic views along with sports fields, bike and footpaths and restored nature areas. “It’s crucial that we build it as a thriving and vital part of this community. This park has been designed with stability and community needs in mind,” Silver added.
Congressmember Nydia Velázquez discussed the long process of the park’s construction. “This is about the present and the future, but most importantly, it’s reclaiming our water front and making a statement that not only do we live here in Sunset Park, but we are turning brownfields into beautiful parks for our communities and children to enjoy,” she said. “We didn’t get here by accident. This was a community-driven process. So many community based organizations that participated.”
Although the park has been met with fanfare, former president of Sunset Park Restoration and chair of the Sunset Waterfront Access Program Noel Feustel believes that the timeline on how the park came to fruition has been slightly miswritten.
“This was a grassroots efforts effort formed in 1985,” he said. “(SWAP members) were the ones who planted the seeds. In 1985, we had this brilliant thought – that a wasteland could be turned into a park and be an asset to the community.”
Still, the finished product of the park impresses Feustel. “It’s a gem. They did a great job. The design people really pulled it together well. It’s nice to see that finally, after almost 30 years, our vision has been realized.”
Menchaca was pleased with the opening but hopes that future progress in Sunset doesn’t continue to take as long. “We have to get better. We cannot wait another 20 years for the next big thing to happen in this community. I am committed that this happens in the city level. The trust between community and government needs to be at the core of how we do our next project,” he said.
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