Abandoned for half a century, the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Railroad is full of potential, yet surrounded by debate. Although currently in a raw, undeveloped state, the line may eventually be transformed into the QueensWay, a public park that has been called “a more neighborhood-oriented version of Manhattan’s High Line.” Here at Untapped Cities, we’ve been following its progress for the last five years. Now, in partnership with Friends of the Queensway and Trust for Public Land, we’re offering a behind-the-scenes tour of the 55-year-old abandoned railroad line before it transforms into a new 3.5-mile, 47-acre park, lined with biking, jogging and walking paths.
- Trudge up an earthen embankment and walk several blocks along the abandoned rail corridor in an out-of-the-way, wooded ravine in Forest Park
- Learn about opportunities and challenges regarding the QueensWay as the tour group navigates territory that is unfriendly to pedestrians and bikes
- Discover a long stretch of the QueensWay along Metropolitan Avenue that runs on a steep embankment adjacent to a school complex containing three schools and two thousand students
What to wear: Bring closed-toe-shoes and dress for hiking as this tour involves a lot of walking
What to know: The tour is roughly two-hours. Much of it will involve walking along sidewalks adjacent to sections of the former rail right of way that are fenced off. We will walk on the abandoned tracks in Forest Park, and two small portions in residential neighborhoods.