Governor Also Announces Completion of $25 Million Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell Pedestrian Bridge Over the Henry Hudson Parkway
Assemblyman Retires After 42 Years of Public Service
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today honored the retirement of Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell Jr. by dedicating the most visited State Park in New York City as Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park. The Governor also announced the completion of the $25 million signature pedestrian and bicyclist bridge, named after Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell, over the Henry Hudson Parkway, which will improve community access to the Hudson River waterfront. Farrell represented Harlem, Washington Heights, Hudson Heights, Sugar Hill, and Hamilton Heights in the Assembly for 42 years, making him the third longest-serving member in the history of the New York State Assembly.
"Denny's model of government service is exemplary and he has never stopped fighting for what he believes in, while always willing to work across the aisle to get the job done," Governor Cuomo said. "An instrumental pioneer in establishing this park 24 years ago, there is no better tribute to his service than renaming the Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, and the pedestrian bridge over the Henry Hudson Parkway, in his honor. These landmarks will serve as a reminder to millions of New Yorkers and visitors the work Denny has accomplished to improve the lives of men and women in New York City and across the entire state."
"It has been a privilege to work alongside men and women who fight every day to improve the lives of New Yorkers, not only in Northern Manhattan, but across the entire state," said Denny Farrell. "I am deeply honored by Governor Cuomo and Legislature's dedication of Riverbank State Park, and have high hopes that the next generation of leaders will continue to uphold the values that New York was founded upon by continuing to do good for all people in every community of this state."
Assemblyman Farrell's service includes 23 years as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; membership on the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus; and chairman of the Banks Committee for more than a decade, where he achieved landmark consumer protections in the credit card and auto-leasing industries. He also served for 28 years as chairman of Manhattan Democratic Party and six years as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee.
Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park
The Governor officially renamed the park at a ceremony attended by more than 325 dignitaries and residents in honor of Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell. Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park is a 28-acre multi-level landscaped recreational facility rising 69 feet above the Hudson River. The park's concept dates back to the 1960s when the City was under federal orders to build a sewage treatment plant after raw sewage from Manhattan was being discharged directly into the Hudson. The City's decision to build the plant on the Hudson River in West Harlem, led to community leaders demanding a park be constructed on top of the facility - something that had only previously been done in Japan. After Governor Mario Cuomo was elected in 1982, Assemblyman Farrell worked with the Governor to fund the park. Governor Mario Cuomo celebrated the opening of the park after years of design and construction - the first state park in Manhattan - on May 27, 1993.
Since the park's opening, Farrell has been a tireless advocate and regular visitor to the park, which has 3.1 million visitors annually and has grown to be the fourth most-visited state park in the New York State, as well as the most-visited park in New York City. Since 2012, Farrell has supported the state's $11.9 million investment in Riverbank through NY Parks 2020 funding, which has included improvements to basketball courts, the artificial turf, track, and ice rink among dozens of other projects. Most recently, Farrell helped to secure a $600,000 state grant for a planned $1 million renovation of this 800-seat cultural center.
The improvements to Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park reflect the Governor's commitment to revitalizing the state park system and expanding access to outdoor recreation. Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to invest $900 million in State Parks. The Governor's 2017-18 Executive Budget allocates $120 million toward this initiative.
Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell Pedestrian Bridge
The Governor also announced the completion of the $25 million pedestrian bridge over the Henry Hudson Parkway at 151st in Manhattan, which will increase access to the Fort Washington and Riverside Parks for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as the 750-mile multi-use Empire State trail, which will be the longest state trail in the nation and is expected to be completed in 2020.
The Pedestrian Bridge project consists of a 270-foot-long bridge spanning over the Henry Hudson Parkway, Amtrak train tracks at 151st Street, and ramps on each side that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The design of the east side ramp along Riverside Drive includes:
- Stone-faced retaining walls on the eastside to match the existing stone overlook;
- Modern design on the west side ramp located on the river side;
- New landscaping around the bridge abutments and the east embankment; and
- LED lighting installed.
"These landmarks will serve as a reminder to millions of New Yorkers and visitors the work Denny has accomplished to improve the lives of men and women in New York City and across the entire state."
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, "For over four decades Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell dedicated his life to public service. His presence in Albany will be sorely missed - both as a public servant and as a gentleman. The amount of time he spent conducting budget hearings and having detailed debates on the state's spending plan and its policies has been a tremendous resource for all of us in the Legislature. I can think of no better way to honor Denny's lifelong devotion to his constituents and our state than by dedicating this state park in his name."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "It has been the honor of lifetime to serve alongside Denny Farrell in the State Assembly. He has served his constituents and our great state with dignity and honor, having earned the respect and admiration of members on both sides of the aisle. It is difficult to describe how much Denny has meant to the Assembly. While I am proud to help dedicate a park in Denny's honor, it is his hard work to better our state that will cement his legacy. Through all the years Denny has served in the Assembly, he never forgot the citizens of his community and why they chose him to represent them in Albany. Denny has been the driving force behind some of the most important legislative initiatives in New York over the last 40 years and spearheaded budgets that have helped improve the lives of millions of citizens. I am honored to play a part in dedicating this park in Denny's name and I am proud to call him a friend and a colleague."
Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein said, "For over 40 years Assemblyman Farrell has been a salient figure in Albany. From the time I was first elected to the Assembly he helmed the Ways and Means Committee and eloquently debated the budget each year. His presence and knowledge will be greatly missed in the Capitol. However, his legacy will live on and through this honor his constituents and all New Yorkers will be reminded of his great contributions to this state."
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Assemblyman Herman 'Denny' Farrell has dedicated his life to serving New York State, and it is only right that we recognize and honor his commitment. Naming the Upper West Side's Riverbank State Park in Denny Farrell's honor is a fitting tribute to his over 50 years of public service. I am proud to have supported this recognition for Assemblyman Farrell and I hope he enjoys his well-earned retirement."
Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, "Congratulations to NYS Assemblyman Herman (Denny) Farrell on more than 50 years of dedicated public service, including 42 years in the state legislature. Denny is a personal friend and a mentor and I am honored to have served with him since I first entered public office more than twenty years ago. His decades of public service have inspired so many of us to follow his proud example, and by naming this park in his honor, we will continue to uphold his legacy and inspire the next generation of public servants."
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, "Over 40 years, he's been beloved by his neighborhood and an icon in New York. It would be hard to find anyone with a career as extraordinary as Denny Farrell's, and I can't think of a better tribute to his lifetime of service than the renaming of this park. His legacy will live on."
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said, "Today we have an opportunity to honor Denny Farrell's lifework and all that that he has done for the people of New York. Denny has been a trailblazing leader, an advocate for New York City, and an inspiration for Democrats across the state and across the nation. It has been a privilege to work with him over the years, and I commend Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for renaming this landmark state park in his honor as the Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park."
New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "New Yorkers owe a great debt of gratitude for Assemblyman Farrell's leadership, including his tireless work to create and improve Riverbank State Park. Naming this absolutely wonderful, joyous and constructive gathering place in West Harlem after him is a great way to honor his legacy."
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Cathy Calhoun said, "Assemblyman Denny Farrell had a vision for a bridge at 151st street that would improve the quality of life for the community and its residents. I am enormously proud that thanks to Governor Cuomo and the Department of Transportation, that vision has now been realized."