LONG ISLAND CITY — The waterfront esplanade in Queensbridge Park was named Friday for Elizabeth McQueen, a late neighborhood advocate who worked for nearly two decades to better the green space and is largely credited with its revitalization, officials said.
McQueen — who died in February at the age of 83 — was relentless in her pursuit of improvements for the park she loved so much, organizing clean-ups and kids activities and pushing the city to fund renovations there, those who knew her said.
"She was a woman to be reckoned with," NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said Friday, when he and other officials unveiled a plaque along the park's riverside walkway that named it the Elizabeth McQueen Esplanade.
McQueen founded the Friends of Queensbridge Park in 1998, and achieved a number of successes during her nearly 20 years with the group, having a hand in the addition of the park's comfort stations, barbecues and volleyball courts, to name a few.
But her biggest campaign was to repair the park's long-crumbling seawall, a project that stalled for nearly a decade and left the waterfront fenced off to park-goers for years until the city finally began repairs in 2013.
"I'm simply overwhelmed by the fact that it's starting at last," McQueen told DNAinfo at the time.
The $7 million overhaul of the seawall was completed in 2014, and included the addition of a fishing pier and a pedestrian path along the East River that now bears McQueen's name. She was there to cut the ribbon.
"This park is experiencing a bit of a renaissance," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said at Friday's ceremony.
"We are able to experience that renaissance because Ms. McQueen was here, doing the work, caring abut this park fighting for this community."
Several of McQueen's family members attended the event, including her grandson, Desmen Williams, who said the honor was a "long time coming" for his grandmother.
"I've seen the transformations that the park went through that my grandma, she made happen," he said. "You couldn't pry her away from this park."