Anable Basin (also known as Eleventh Street Basin) is a 500-foot-long (150 m) artificial inlet of the East River located in the Long Island City section of Queens, New York City. A public walkway along the southwest side of the basin was constructed as part of the Queens West development in 2012. The basin contains several private vessels, the former Water's Edge restaurant, a former Prudence Island ferry boat, and a floating dock owned by Long Island City Community Boathouse, used for its kayaking programs.
The basin's namesake is Henry Sheldon Anable, who was also the basin's financier. Anable was a prominent figure in local business and politics in 1860s, the time of the basin’s creation. He was the nephew-in-law of then-president of Union College, Eliphalet Nott, who owned much of the land around Hunter's Point.
Anable’s ancestors were among the early Puritan settlers of Massachusetts, arriving in 1623. He is a descendant of Anthony Annable who was a passenger of the Anne, which was the third ship to arrive in the Plymouth Colony.
The inlet was carved in 1868 at a time when Long Island City was home to numerous oil refineries and factories. At the time of the canal's creation, a mastodon bone was found on the site of the basin.
For much of the 20th century, the major industrial property on the basin was Pepsi-Cola, which had its bottling plant at the point where Anable Basin meets the East River. In 1937 the prolific advertising firm Artkraft-Strauss Sign Corporation installed the cursive ruby-colored neon-on-metal Pepsi-Cola sign atop the bottling plant and it became an instant point of reference for Manhattan residents and passing ships. When the bottling plant was demolished in 1999, the iconic 120-foot-long sign was dismantled and reassembled at a nearby site by Rockrose Development Corporation. The sign is an official city landmark and part of Gantry Plaza State Park, which lines the shore of East River between Anable Basin and Hunters Point.
In 1980, Water's Edge, a waterfront restaurant specializing in wedding venue, opened on the north side of the basin. It operated for over 30 years, until the then-owner was indicted for bribery and fraud charges. A new eatery, Anable Basin Sailing Bar & Grill, has since opened across the street. The eatery offers mooring for vessels, picnic tables by the waterfront and a mixture of American and ethnic dishes including ćevapi, a Bosnian sausage.
Art and culture
In October 2007, artist Chico MacMurtrie introduced the sculpture A Tree for Anable Basin in the basin. The 24-foot-high aluminum tree was set atop a floating island planted with native grass species. MacMurtrie is the founder of the Brooklyn-based workshop Amorphic Robot Works.
In August 2012, to showcase sustainable agriculture, Cooper Union architecture student Karim Ahmed designed a hydroponic garden atop a 20-foot raft that was launched in the Anable Basin. Waterpod, as the project was called, grew sunflowers, kale, corn, and a baby nectarine tree. The project was inspired by the chinampa floating farms used in Aztec society. Ahmed’s raft was moored at the northwest corner of the basin where Anable Basin Sailing Bar & Grill is located.
In June 2017, local art curator Brandon Stosuy in collaboration with Matthew Barney and a group of other artists installed a countdown clock at the entrance of Anable Basin, visible from Manhattan. The art piece counts down the days and hours remaining in President Donald Trump's first term.
In 2017, local real estate firms TF Cornerstone and Plaxall separately submitted proposals to the city to rezone the area around Anable Basin for development. TF Cornerstone's plan for 1,000 apartments and a light manufacturing complex was submitted in July, while Plaxall submitted its plan for a 700-foot (210 m) tower in December. The following year, the northern end of the Basin became part of the planned Amazon HQ2 Long Island City campus. Due to community opposition, Amazon withdrew its plans to build the Amazon HQ2 campus in February 2019.
According to The City, following Amazon's decision to not try to build a second headquarters near Anable Basin, the New York City Council invited three property developers to prepare plans for future development of the neighborhood. The three developers were TF Cornerstone, Simon Baron Development, and L&L Mag. A spokesman for city council explained “One of the main problems we had with Amazon’s proposal was the lack of community engagement. We’re happy that these stakeholders are being proactive, we look forward to being active participants in the process.”
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Yes, they were circumventing the usual land-use process and essentially eliminating any veto power by the City Council. But, Mr. de Blasio said, the project was so large, Amazon “needed a certain amount of certainty.”
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Christine Chung (November 14, 2019). "A YEAR AFTER AMAZON PICKED LIC, SUSPICIONS CLOUD FUTURE". The City. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
At stake is the future of the LIC waterfront near the Anable Basin, an inlet of the East River, which became a battleground where Amazon opponents, fearing gentrification, squared off against supporters who pointed to a potential economic boon for New Yorkers.
Amy Plitt; Caroline Spivack (November 14, 2019). "Developing Long Island City's waterfront a year after Amazon: Assessing Long Island City's future a year after Amazon". Curbed NY. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
Now, three real estate firms—TF Cornerstone, Simon Baron Development, and L&L Mag— have launched the “Your LIC” public engagement effort, which will feature four public meetings and an online conversation, to gather community input on the future of some 28 acres of waterfront land, THE CITY reports.
Mariah Brown (October 30, 2019). "Long Island City Landowners Team-Up On Former Amazon Site". Globe Street. New York City. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
Toward the end of summer, landlords who include real estate firms Simon Baron Development, TF Cornerstone and L&L Mag united for a discussion about developing the site slated for Amazon’s headquarters, and in and around the waterfront, Matthew Baron, president of Simon Baron Development, tells GlobeSt.com.