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Alley Pond

Location: Queens, NY

Anchor Site(s): Alley Pond Park and Fort Totten Park

About the Sites: Queens County is home to this Stewardship Area which includes Alley Pond Park and Fort Totten Park.

Alley Pond Park sits at the southern end of Little Neck Bay, offering a unique opportunity to experience a natural environment in the midst of urbanized Queens. The park exhibits a variety of habitats, including tidal wetland, coastal grassland, and shrubland habitats, on over 657 acres of protected area. Also within the park is Alley Pond Environmental Center which offers a series of educational programs throughout the year.

Further north in this Stewardship Area is Fort Totten Park,which sits on 60 acres of land that juts into Little Neck Bay. Fort Totten Park is home to an old Civil War fortress and provide habitat for winter waterfowl to stop for a rest during their long trek south.

Ecological Importance

  • This Stewardship Area provides a range of habitats, including forested hills, ponds, meadows, salt marshes, tidal flats, and freshwater habitats that are rare in Queens County.
  • This Stewardship Area acts as a resting area for winter waterfowl and also provides feeding, breeding, and nursery grounds to wildlife.
  • Freshwater drains into Alley Pond from the hills and bubbles up from natural springs, mixing with the saltwater from Little Neck Bay. As a result, Alley Pond Park is host to freshwater and saltwater wetlands, tidal flats, meadows, and forests, making for a diverse ecosystem and supporting abundant bird life.
  • The Woodlands in Alley Pond Park comprise 100 acres of continuous forest canopy with some trees being up to 200 years old and is home to spring and fall migrating songbirds.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Fish for striped bass in this Stewardship Area.
  • Explore the natural environment at Alley Pond Environmental Center, which provides educational programs in ecology and life sciences for students of all ages.
  • Hike the many trails around Alley Pond Park.
  • Explore the history and natural offerings at Fort Totten Park, which provides a place to launch a kayak or canoe, see migrating waterfowl during the winter,and take a guided tour with a park ranger.

Dive Deeper

  • Alley Creek Watershed Plan
    Started in 2012, NYC Parks and DEP are currently in the process of preparing an ecological restoration and watershed plan to identify opportunities for managing threats to ecology and waterway health. See the “get involved” section for more information about public meetings.
  • Restoration projects
    This map shows past restoration work by Natural Resources Group in Alley Pond Park.
  • Udalls Cove Park Preserve
    This Preserve is located around an 30-acre inlet off of Little Neck Bay is an important habitat area in northeastern Queens.
  • Restoration at Alley Creek
    This restoration project restored wetlands and local plant life to Alley Pond Park in an effort to reduce sewer overflows into Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay.
  • Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plan
    The Alley Creek Watershed in the Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plan created by NYC Department of Environmental Protection stretches from Alley Pond Park to Fort Totten, and includes the edge of the Nassau County’s western border.
  • Oakland Lake
    Oakland Lake is a glacial kettle lake that is fed by underground springs in Alley Pond Park.

Places to Visit

  • Udalls Cove Park Preserve is a 30-acre inlet off of Little Neck Bay is an important preserve and habitat area for northeastern Queens.
  • Queens County Farm Museum is the only working historical farm in New York City, dating back to 1697. A greenhouse complex, historical buildings, planting fields, livestock, orchard, and vineyard sit on 47 acres of farmland.
  • Crocheron Park sits on the edge of Little Neck Bay between Alley Pond Park and Fort Totten Park. The park offers baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, and a view of Golden Pond.

Get Involved/Events

  • Alley Pond Environmental Center offers many volunteer opportunities, including volunteering at the Center’s animal care and helping with educational programs or special events. Field Biology internships are also available for high school students.

Field Notes

  • It is best to bird with someone else or a group at Alley Pond Park.
  • Poison ivy is found here and there throughout the Park. It is not a problem if you stay on the trails.
  • Dog ticks may be encountered from mid-April through June in field areas.

Credits and Sources

  • Aline Euler, Educator, Alley Pond Environmental Center. Site visit and personal interview in 2012.
  • “Alley Pond Park.” NYC Parks Web site. Available at

Return to the main Stewardship page

Did You Know?

  • The Matinecock Indians were the first inhabitants of the Little Neck Bay watershed, and subsisted on the wealth of wampum shells and seafood.
  • Oakland Lake in Alley Pond Park dates back to the last ice age at 15,000 years of age.
  • A commercial shellfishery thrived in Little Neck Bay during the mid-1800s, but was forced to close in the early 1900s due to watershed pollution from urbanization of the area.
  • Alley Pond Park is the second-largest public park in Queens.

Alley Pond Park

Fort Totten Park

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