The 10-acre (4.0 ha) park first opened in May 1998 and was expanded in July 2009. The southern portion of the park is a former dock facility and includes restored gantry cranes built in the 1920s to load and unload rail car floats that served industries on Long Island via the Long Island Rail Road tracks that used to run along 48th Avenue (now part of Hunter's Point Park). The northern portion of Gantry Plaza State Park was a former Pepsi bottling plant.
The film Munich took advantage of this view in its final scene, shot in 2005. The pier and the Pepsi-Cola sign to its north are visible in this scene.
The same location was used in The Interpreter (starring Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman). It is the final scene where Nicole's character says goodbye to Sean Penn's character, who is sitting on a fence by Gantry Park. The Pepsi-Cola sign at the former bottling plant is visible in the scene as well.
The park is being developed in stages by the Queens West Development Corporation. The original section of Gantry Plaza State Park was designed by Thomas Balsley with Lee Weintraub, both New York City landscape architects, and Richard Sullivan, an architect. Stage 2, the new six-acre section of the park, was designed by New York City landscape architecture firm Abel Bainnson Butz and the first phase of Stage 2 opened to the public in July 2009. When complete, the Gantry Plaza State Park is expected to total 40 acres (16 ha) in size.