City breaks ground on Hallets Cove restoration project

A cleanup of Hallets Cove will remake the northwestern waterfront of Queens, which also serves as the backyard to residents of Astoria Houses.
Years ago, Claudia Coger, president of the Astoria Houses Tenant Association, took then-councilman Costa Constantinides down to the abandoned pier along Vernon Boulevard. Both recalled the cove being filled with garbage, abandoned shopping carts and dead animals.
“It’s one of the greatest pleasures of my life to see it be cleaned up,” she said. “It had been a desolate area for so long.”
The $5 million project includes the removal of old structures and debris from a radio tower that has been decaying in the cove, as well as new wetland vegetation, trees lining the street and new railings along Vernon Boulevard. The former eyesore will soon transform into a “hub of nature and leisure” as well as accessible to all.
“This is a day of celebration,” said Constantinides. “Finally, residents of Astoria Houses have a waterfront worthy of them.”
The project is scheduled for completion next spring.
“From litter and debris to invasive plants, Hallets Cove has looked and felt forgotten for far too long,” said Borough President Donovan Richards. “While the rest of the Western Queens waterfront has been developed into beautiful hubs of culture and community, this space has been left to deteriorate and decay for far too long.”
Community Board 1 district manager Florence Koulouris thanked Coger for her advocacy
“We need more people like Ms. Coger to keep Astoria Houses, Queensbridge Houses, Woodside Houses and Ravenswood on the forefront,” said Koulouris.
Incoming councilwoman Tiffany Caban said she is committed to continue the work of her successor.
“Just like Ms. Coger walked Costa through here very early on, one of the first things he did with me was walk me right here,” said Caban of Constantinides. “Climate justice is racial justice. We’ve got to start somewhere, and it is deeply, deeply important that we do that equitably.”

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