The city Parks Department and the National Park Service are putting the finishing touches on a request for proposals to place concessions at several locations around Jamaica Bay in Queens and Brooklyn. They posted a map of the area that showed several locations where concessions could be created. (Image: via Queens Crap)
Jamaica Bay, a hidden jewel in New York City for nature lovers, could become a destination complete with food stands and rental stands for kayaks and bikes.
The Parks Department and the National Park Service are putting the finishing touches on a request for proposals to place concessions at several locations around the bay in Queens and Brooklyn, according the New York Daily News.
The new concessions are part of a larger plan between the two agencies to cooperatively manage the 10,000-acre site, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
“We’re excited about the future plans for Jamaica Bay,” said Dan Mundy Jr. of Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers. “People will have greater access to the bay and we will also be able to keep up with restoration programs.”
Parks officials unveiled the plan at the Community Board 14 Parks Committee meeting last Thursday. They posted a map of the area that showed several locations where concessions could be created. But the agency declined to discuss the proposal until the RFP is released next week.
Dan Hendrick, who is making a film about Jamaica Bay, said the area has been a “Rorschach test” of sorts for each generation.
“In the 1930s, they talked about making it the world’s largest port,” he said.
“People are still trying to figure out what the bay should be.”
Hendrick said he thinks the concessions should include amenities that would both lure in visitors and serve local residents. The large area surrounding Jamaica Bay includes Rockaway and Broad Channel as well as Bergen Beach, Canarsie and the massive Floyd Bennett Field.
Birdlovers have long appreciated the varied wildlife that lives and travels through the different portions of the bay.
But Hendrick said many area residents have a “disconnect” with the bay because they consider it polluted. He hopes by opening it up to different kinds of recreation — such as camping in areas such as Floyd Bennett Field — they will develop a connection. Mundy said the plan, accompanied with the existing or additional ferry service, could also help bring more people to Rockaway.
Food concessions and surfing beaches sparked a resurgence in Rockaway in recent years. But the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy has left many people wondering what this summer will bring.
“People could take a ferry down, rent a kayak or surfboard and stay for dinner,” Mundy said.
“Maybe these are baby steps.”
New York Daily News - February 26, 2013 - By Lisa L. Colangelo