Monday, September 19, 2016

Great natural area on the northern shore of Queens

Nathan Kensinger/Curbed
From Curbed:

Running roughly 6,000 feet from its head near Northern Boulevard to its mouth in Udalls Cove, this diminutive stream travels through a bucolic backyard ravine in Little Neck, Queens, which has largely been saved from developers by several generations of local volunteers. Their successful battle to preserve their neighborhood’s waterfront, and to restore it to health, continues to be one of the most impressive community organizing efforts in the city. And yet, like Hook Creek and Bridge Creek, Gabler’s Creek remains a relatively unknown Queens waterway, flowing out of sight at the very edge of the city.

The fact that Gabler’s Creek even exists today is largely due to the work of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee (UCPC), a small neighborhood organization founded in 1969 by the concerned residents of Douglaston and Little Neck. "A golf course had been planned, filling in the wetlands. That was the pivotal moment," says Walter Mugdan, who has been the president of the group since 2002. Their initial efforts helped to create the 30-acre Udalls Park Preserve, a protected area now jointly managed by the NYC Parks Department and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.

In recent years, the UCPC has continued to protect the preserve from overdevelopment, invasive species, erosion, flooding, and a host of other challenges. "Altogether, our organization has spent between $225,000 and $250,000 over the last 12 years on various large projects," says Mugdan. "For a tiny organization like ours, that’s pretty good."

Funded by grants and donations, these projects include planting over 1,000 new trees, removing more than a million pounds of concrete rubble, building and maintaining numerous new trail systems and foot bridges, and helping the city to identify and purchase the final few properties that would make Gabler’s Creek into a single, continuous public space. "This is a last little remnant of the natural world here," explains Mugdan, reflecting on the importance of the preserve. "It is hardly a pristine wilderness, but you make the best of what you’ve got."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

But, of course.
The upper class people of the Douglas Manor historic district would not allow this area , that abuts their fine nabe, to be developed.
As for Flushing, Maspeth, College Point...just fuck over these areas!

Helen Griffin said...

Half of Udall cove is in Little neck (a much more middle class area, with smaller homes on smaller lots than Douglaston Manor)--and Mugdun lives in Little Neck (a life long resident) not in Douglaston. Some of the homes that are closest to the wet land Preservaton area, are the homes of former slaves--Not mansions, not luxury water front property--Yes there is some waterfront property, but the difference between Douglaston Manor and Little Neck is: Douglaston Manor is on a bluff (shore road is 10 to 20 feet above water) In Little Neck, Little Neck Parkway (and many ajoinning roads are 2 to 4 feet above sea level (and flooding is an issue) The "fancy" part of little neck is south of Northern Blvd--up in the Hills (aka Little Neck Hills)--no where near the water.

Little Neck is full of civic minded people--Alley Pond Park, (part of the Udalls Cove park area)was a recycling center long before the city mandated recycling--the residents of this area have been active working to clean and preserve the wet lands around Udall Cove for over 40 years... the UDCP group has set a fine example of how to be effective..and has worked with other groups to assist.

Anonymous said...

Let's preserve and protect what few natural areas we have left before they are all gone destroyed by greedy developers !

Anonymous said...

Thank you Helen !

Anonymous said...

Mike able had stopped some geeks from Wisconsin from zoning the stream as useless. Apparently those college dudes from Wisconsin couldn't possibly imagine rural areas INSIDE NYC.

Anonymous said...

But it's the well off people of Douglas Manor that have far more juice than the "middle class" of Little Neck, Helen.
The late Aurora Gareis, long time resident of Douglas Manor (that Aurora's Pond is named after) , championed Udall's Cove for decades.
Thanks for your primer history lesson which was incomplete.

Anonymous said...

The windmill in Alley Pond came from Douglaston.
Read up about the unique "mud volcanoes" that exist , I believe , north of Northern Blvd. near "the alley".

Helen Griffin said...

Sure residents of Douglaston Manor are involved--and it is a good thing they have money for lawyers and to pay for studies.. but the Park that now exists is a park for everyone, not some gated park. It is a public park, I used to take the LIRR that passes through the area, and my morning treat was seeing ducks, and geese, and swans, cormorants and egrets, cranes, and once a pheasant. I love that there is a place for these birds (and turtles, and foxes, and others) in NYC--I am a daughter born in concrete, but i loved my daily trips through nature.