Photo Courtesy of Google
The Save Kew Gardens Coalition calls the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge the “Heart of the Community.”
By Michael V. Cusenza
“Don’t let the MTA/LIRR destroy the heart of Kew Gardens!”
So begins the online petition “Save Kew Gardens Lefferts Blvd. Bridge,” recently crafted by the Save Kew Gardens Coalition, a group of area civic organizations looking to preserve the span between Grenfell and Austin streets that features 13 small businesses.
“Since the late 1920’s the Kew Gardens Lefferts Boulevard Bridge over the Long Island Rail Road – home to the mom-and-pop stores that give the town its character and serve the shopping needs of its residents – has been the heart of this ‘Urban Village in the Big City.’ MTA and LIRR own the bridge and surrounding real estate,” the group wrote on its petition page at change.org. “Over 26 years ago the MTA set aside plans to develop a high-rise building over the MTA/LIRR tracks at the Kew Gardens Station. The MTA abandoned its proposal in the face of unified opposition by the community’s residents, civic associations, and elected officials. Hundreds of people came together to fight the proposed destruction of the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge of stores – the heart of Kew Gardens.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is reportedly mulling what to do with the admittedly decaying structure that activists have compared to the medieval Ponte Vecchio overpass in Florence, Italy.
This is not sitting well with the coalition.
According to the organization, “The heart of Kew Gardens is once again threatened. The MTA/LIRR is using the results of their intentional neglect as the excuse for a revived attempt to destroy the heart of our community. This site – a one-of-a-kind structure in New York City and the United States – is now once more the target of destructive development.”
The MTA this week told The Forum that it will reach out to the neighborhood regarding the fate of the bridge and its tenants.
“We’re committed to working with the community to find the best possible outcome for this location,” said agency spokesman Aaron Donovan.