Throggs Neck waterfront lot eyed for new park

A vacant lot at 222 Longstreet Avenue is being eyed for a new public park by a National Public Land Trust.
Community News Group/Arthur Cusano

An empty Throggs Neck lot sitting on the Long Island Sound could be purchased and converted to a small public park if plans being mulled by a national land trust come to fruition.

The lot at 222 Longstreet Avenue and 850 Shore Drive became vacant when a house on the property was razed last year.

At a Monday, November 14 public hearing the Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit, will give a presentation to Community Board 10 on a plan it is considering to purchase the property at market rate and then donate it to the city for public land space.

That plan is still in its infancy and is the only site being considered by the trust in the Bronx, said project manager Ben Weiland.

The land trust did an analysis of the Bronx and the neighborhood and found no park immediately near the proposed location, he said.

“Most of the residents are outside a 10-minute walk of a park,” he said. “There is not public access to the Sound right here.”

The trust may or may not use city funds to acquire the property, he added.

He said the property would be a beautiful site for green infrastructure, but would also act as a buffer to help protect the community from flooding.

The trust has not been in contact with the landowner, said Board 10 Chair Martin Prince.

Real estate agent Chris Tulotta represents the property.

He said he knew little of the trust’s proposal to buy the property, but said the property was still on the market and that no offer had been submitted.

“It’s a great piece of property – it’s the last piece of [available] property on the waterfront,” he said.

The public hearing will be held the same night as a hearing for a plan to renovate part of Ferry Point Park and a competing plan to use that space to expand the Trump Links at Ferry Point golf course.

Weiland said whatever happens with that property would not impact his group’s proposal.

“There is so much distance between Ferry Point and our site that we don’t even see that as a singular neighborhood,” he said.

The 75-foot by 200-foot lot is listed at $1.25 million on the realty website Trulia.com and is commercially zoned.

The deed was transferred by Ernest Massa to his family limited liability corporation in 2001, according to city finance records.

Massa died in 2006 at age 77, according to public records.

John Doyle, a retired police officer, lives across the street from the vacant parcel in a home he purchased in 1999.

He said he had a good idea why the property may not be selling on the open market – like his, it’s in one of the city designated special flood zone areas.

Doyle said he was forced to purchase flood insurance for his property by the bank that holds his mortgage due to its proximity to the Sound.

“When (superstorm) Sandy came, (the insurance) jumped almost $2,000 in one year,” he said.

As for the idea of a park being built on the land, Doyle said he didn’t want it or see the need for it.

“That would bring more people here, I don’t want that,” he said. “And Bicentennial [Veterans Memorial] Park is just a half mile down the road. It’s a nice park.”

That park, which runs along the Throgs Neck Expressway, at Weir Creek, is a 12-minute walk from the proposed park site, according to Google maps.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com.

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