Landscape architecture graduate students Jessica Shoemaker, Jessica Johnson and Paul Crespo earned a first place award in the international ENYA 2014 Queensway Connection Elevating the Public Realm Design Competition. Their submission was Ebb + Flow. 

Eric Bernard, director, UNM landscape architecture program, said, “Winning the student first prize for a project as highly visible and innovative as the Queensway is a tremendous honor and great tribute to these students’ talents and abilities, as well as the quality of students in the landscape architecture program here at UNM. This recognition speaks directly to the excellent instruction in contemporary landscape architectural design, and builds on the programs tradition of winning competitions. I am so proud and delighted with our students and faculty as it is well deserved.”

According to the ENYA website, the site selected for the competition is the former Ozone Park Station, abandoned when the Rockaway Beach rail line shut down in the 1950′s. Centrally located in the neighborhood and close to both subway lines, this platform is the only location that provides an increased width. The station is located between 100th and 99th Streets, and 101st and 103rd Avenues in Ozone Park, Queens. The two tracks, elevated 15 feet above street level, feature cantilevered extensions on both sides which formerly served as the platforms for passengers awaiting the train. ENYA selected this site, located at the southern end of the proposed QueensWay, to serve not only as gateway to the larger park system but also be a model for what community hubs along the railway can become.

In its current form, the Queensway is a relic of the past, physically separating the southern Queens communities. Ebb + Flow is about creating a new context that physically and socially unites these communities. Patterns of movement and gathering create opportunities to bring people together. As a system of engagement, Ebb + Flow is a holistic approach to joining the railway with neighboring communities that reaches beyond the length of through Ozone Station. The goal is to create a seam that connects diverse groups and neighborhoods through elements that run the length of the line but change to fit the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. A series of large and small events on the railway engage the daily life of the diverse neighborhood inhabitants, enticing them to join in cultural activities, engage with their neighbors and participate in fostering a stronger and healthier community.

Ebb + Flow is about strengthening existing community networks as well as creating new connections. The design pays tribute to the history of the railway through re-purposing the original junctions and stations as community hubs. Civic junctions, neighborhood stations, site specific swoops, and small happenings are the four scales of event that activate the line, reflecting the local culture and pulling in partnerships with existing community organizations. Engagement through small business opportunities, service learning partnerships between businesses and schools, and large scale community events invest in the community as a whole through economic opportunities, creating and strengthening