This park is named for the nearby Queensboro Bridge, also known as the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge or 59th Street Bridge. The 1960s band Simon and Garfunkel made the bridge famous in their song “Feelin’ Groovy,” also called “The 59th Street Bridge Song.”
Dr. Thomas Rainey (1824-1910), a resident of Ravenswood, Queens, spent twenty-five years of his life and most of his fortune promoting the construction of a bridge across the East River connecting Manhattan and Long Island City. The area now occupied by Rainey Park (just to the north) was the Queen’s anchor for this structure, which was to be called Blackwell Island Bridge. The bridge, planned with one ramp south to Brooklyn and another out to Long Island City, New York City, was promoted as a catalyst for developing growth in Queens and as a railroad link to Long Island. However, the effort fell apart during the financial Panic of 1873; most interests in the region were for another bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The sparse population in Queens at the time raised further concerns about need and profitability.
On July 19, 1901, construction on the Queensboro Bridge officially began, but it was years before any notable progress was made. Renowned bridge engineer and City Bridge Commissioner Gustav Lindenthal (1850-1935) collaborated with architects Leffert L. Buck (1837-1909) and other Williamsburg Bridge designers and builders to create the Queensboro Bridge. Significant construction was not underway until 1906, after several delays, including a lengthy steel strike.
The final link in the superstructure of the Queensboro Bridge was completed in March 1908. One year later, the bridge opened to traffic at the cost of $20 million. The original 1909 configuration of the bridge accommodated six lanes for motor vehicles, four pairs of trolley tracks, two elevated subway lines, and lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists. By the 1930s, this connection with Manhattan transformed Queens from a rural outpost into a borough with over two million by the 1950s. In 1957, the last trolley trains crossed the Queensboro Bridge, and the bridge was reconfigured to allow for ten lanes of vehicular traffic.
The City of New York acquired the land now Queensbridge Park in two sections in 1939. The nearby Queensbridge Houses gave land jurisdiction to the New York City Housing Authority, but it was understood that NYC Parks would maintain it. In 1975, some of the property was transformed into parking lots under the supervision of the Bureau of Property Management. The park is characterized by a variety of facilities, including baseball fields, a soccer-football combination field, basketball, volleyball, and handball courts, a playground with see-saws, swings, and jungle gyms, a comfort station, and picnic areas, sitting areas, walkways, greenery, and trees. H&A Power Washing Long Island
Address: Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NYC
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