Advocates Lobby for the Queensway, a High Line for the Outer Boroughs

The proposed Queensway park would be twice as long and seven times as big as its Manhattan counterpart, so it's no wonder advocates of rehabbing the abandoned railroad line call it "the High Line on steroids."

Three and a half miles long and 47-acres wide, the proposed green space could connect Forest Hills to the Rockaways.

"This will be a world-class park," said Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Land, during a tour of the proposed park on Tuesday. He predicted local, state and federal agencies will help cover the $120 million conversion of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Railroad.

"Our vision is to connect the neighborhoods of central Queens," said Andrea Crawford, a former community board member who's now part of Friends of Queensway, an advocacy group.

Supporters predict the new park will be an economic magnet-- drawing dog walkers and tourists alike, even spurring outdoor classrooms for neighborhood schools.

But there are opponents. Especially those who think the best use of a former railroad is as a future railroad.

"Listen, I like parks," said Philip McManus, an NYPD officer from Rockaway Park who thinks the lack of transit options has crippled southern Queens. "But I need a train and a bus every day for the rest of my life."

The project now has the backing of Reps.Joe Crowley and Grace Meng, both Democrats representing parts of Queens, and some members of the city council.

But Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to weigh in.

"We look forward to continuing conversations with stakeholders about the future of this asset," said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor.

Without support from City Hall the project may get stuck on the drawing board. Organizers have only raised one percent of the money needed to make it a reality.

Follow Andrew Siff on Twitter @andrewsiff4NY

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