Despite the delays and cost overruns at the Hunters Point Library, I personally like it. I know that not everyone in the neighborhood shares my sentiment, some thinking it an overpriced folly and others questioning the need for any new libraries in the 21st century. But grand projects that may come across as impractical or wasteful at onset, can sometimes transcend their original purpose, as well as transform a neighborhood if the conceptualization of it is on target. Though we won’t really know for another year about the final outcome, I’m optimistic that the decision to build it will be proven correct.
Yet underlying the creation of the Hunters Point Library, is a dirty little secret: the land that it is built upon was originally slated to be a “Community center with swimming pool” in the initial blueprints for the Queens West Development.
The rationale for placing a community center in a completely rezoned and newly built community of tall towers is pretty self-evident, though I’ve gone on about it ad nauseam here, here, and here over the years. While I may do so again in the very near future, I think the fact that our forefathers chose to include it in the original constitution for Queens West, provides a more objective rationale for its coming into being than my impassioned desire (and logic) for it. Furthermore, lest there be any doubt as to what comprises a “community center” they included the salient detail “with swimming pool,” which is pretty much the only detail of its kind in the whole blueprint.
A library is nice, and our library may be especially nice, but a community center is essential no matter what century you’re living in. The lack of one in Hunters Point is governmental negligence, and the chance for it to be rectified has come down to one parcel of land, the Anable Basin proposal. Every other development plot in the neighborhood large enough to accommodate one has already been spoken for, and Plaxall’s plan for 5,000 units spread across many buildings makes it easy to absorb the 50,000-60,000 square feet needed for a c.c.
If you agree, you should let the decision-makers know by attending the CB2 meeting on the Plaxall development being held tonight (January 10) at 6:30pm at the Plaxall Gallery, 5-25 46th Avenue, and/or by sending a letter to the person in charge for gathering comments on behalf of the city: Robert Dobruskin at [email protected] by January 19
Queens West Development at Hunters Point – original blueprint, see footnote 8
Plaxall’s Grand(e) Plan for Anable Basin and Rec Center – it will also reside in a neighborhood that for all intents and purposes is the only one in NYC without a real recreation center including a pool