HarborLAB’s volunteers, students, and community partners are especially thankful this year to Gotham Organization, RiseBoro, NYC Housing Preservation and Development, and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer for our inclusion into the rising Hunters Point South neighborhood. The NYC Economic Development Corporation was also very helpful with guidance and information.
The City issued a request for proposals to develop two parcels where the East River and Newtown Creek meet. In their winning bid Gotham Organization and RiseBoro included HarborLAB as the boathouse and community service tenant in a waterfront tower between a coming school to the west and 2nd Street boat launch to the east.
To HarborLAB this up-to-4,000 square foot space is a cornucopia we’ll be responsible for filling with engaging educational, recreational, and environmental stewardship activities as a gift of plenty to all. Our labor, equipment, and activities are dedicated to opening our estuary to both residents and visitors. Together with partners in universities, schools, youth and elder service groups, environmental organizations, neighborhood associations, and public agencies we’ll offer fun and informative programs throughout the year!
We’re thankful that public servants worked so hard to create this community asset. Penny Lee, formerly of the NYC Department of City Planning, heard and acted upon our volunteers’ requests — being waterfront advocates even before we formed HarborLAB — for a boat launch at 2nd Street in 2003. City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Hunters Point, then championed our request that storage be provided by developers near the launch. This was incorporated into the City’s RFP criteria. The bidders hoping to develop Hunters Point South parcels F + G then interviewed community organizations about utilizing the boathouse space, and we’re grateful to each for taking this aspect of the project so seriously. A special note of great gratitude to HarborLAB’s volunteers: It’s your loving, reliable, and excellent service to diverse communities, and the strong relationships you’ve built, that gave Gotham Organization and the City confidence that we’ll put this fantastic space to the best use.
We’re appreciative that Gotham Organization has kept such a warm and friendly ongoing dialogue with us as we shape our vision. One priority for HarborLAB is to create NYC’s most wheelchair accessible boat launch and boathouse.
HarborLAB will continue to provide programming and habitat restoration gardening at our Vernon Boulevard launch, through the generosity of Schuman Properties. We owe our success in great part to this relationship.
A community dialogue, design work, and essential formalities between ourselves, the development partners, and the City lie ahead. But today we are simply filled with thanks.