Powell’s Cove Park in Queens, NY, is an environmental waterfront park with tidal wetlands, wooded walking paths, wildflower meadows and open fields. It was completed in 1999 and is located along the East River in College Point (west) and Malba (east), bordered by 9th and 11th Avenues, and stretching from 130th to 138th Streets.
The park is probably named for the family of John Powell, who owned land in the vicinity as late as 1873. It is a passive recreation park, enjoyed by walkers, joggers, cyclists, and dog-walkers. Two overlooks afford views of the lush wetlands and the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. Decorative iron fences at the 130th street entrance depict the landscape and skyline of the Whitestone Bridge.
Powell’s Cove Park was created in part to protect tidal wetlands and the natural environment of the marshland region. Only 7.094 acres of the park are above ground, while 17.310 acres of the park are actually submerged marshlands. The park was acquired in two main parcels, in 1993 and 1995. The acquisition of the second parcel was a result of mitigation for the loss of parkland from the construction of the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Tennis Center stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
From 2012-2015, the city Department of Environmental Protection closed the western end of the park to install a larger underground interceptor sewer line leading to the neighboring Tallman Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. The $30 million project increases Tallman’s treatment capacity to 160 million gallons of wastewater daily – up from 120 million – and will reduce overflows of untreated waste into local waters during wet weather. This will improve the health of Powell’s Cove, Flushing Bay and Little Bay.
The park was reopened to the public in August 2015 after restoration and upgrades to the wetlands and upland. This included the planting of approximately 700 new trees and shrubs and 1/4 acre of new wetland, and the enhancement of 1.3 acres of tidal wetlands.
The park has been plagued by thick colonies of invasive plants and hazardous trees. Restoration to correct these conditions and improve wildlife habitat is set to begin in summer 2016.