Photo Essay: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

By Paul Riegler on 20 May 2015
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The home of both the 1939/1940 and 1964/1965 New York World’s Fairs, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, often referred to merely as Flushing Meadows Park, was created on top of a former dumping ground, one which F. Scott Fitzgerald called a “valley of ashes” in The Great Gatsby.

Each of the two New York World’s Fairs held here covered the 1,216 acres (492 hectares) of the park. Over 44 million people attended the first World’s Fair and more than 51 million attended the second.

The Unisphere, built as the centerpiece of the 1964/1965 World’s Fair, is the park’s symbol and stands on the site formerly occupied by the Perisphere at the earlier fair. The New York State Pavilion, the state’s exhibit hall during the ’64 fair that was designed by Philip Johnson, is also a prominent feature of the park. Unfortunately, no use was found for the building after the fair’s closing, and the structure currently sits in a derelict state. In April 2014 it was designated a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and it is hoped that it may yet be restored to its former glory.

The park is the home of the Queens Theatre in the Park, the New York City Hall of Science, and Queens Museum of Art, which features the Panorama (a scale model of New York City that includes every street and building in it), and Terrace on the Park (formerly the Fair’s helipad, now a catering hall with amazing views of the surrounding area and city skyline).

The park features many amenities that attract visitors, including row and paddle boat rental, multiple playing fields and playgrounds, and places for family gatherings. On warm spring and summer days, hundreds of people play baseball, soccer, tennis, and cricket, among other sports, in the park.

The park is also extremely bicycle-friendly. Bicycle paths extend around Meadow Lake and connect to the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway.

At the northern edge of the park are Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team as well as numerous concerts, soccer matches and other sporting events, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, with three stadiums where the U.S. Open is held in late summer. The adjoining 33 tennis courts are available for public use most of the year.

Flushing Meadows Park is easily reached by car via the Long Island Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, Whitestone Expressway, or by subway (#7 Flushing line) and Long Island Railroad (Port Washington Line).

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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