Flushing Meadows–Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Corona Park
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View of the New York State Pavilion and the Unisphere.
Type Public park
Location Queens, New York City, NY, USA
Coordinates 40°44′45″N 73°50′41″W / 40.74583°N 73.84472°W / 40.74583; -73.84472Coordinates: 40°44′45″N 73°50′41″W / 40.74583°N 73.84472°W / 40.74583; -73.84472
Area 1,255 acres (508 ha)
Created 1939
Operated by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
Status Open all year

Flushing Meadows Corona Park, often referred to as Flushing Meadow Park, Flushing Meadows Park or Flushing Meadows, is a public park in New York City. It contains the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the current venue for the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets baseball team, the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art and the Queens Wildlife Center.

It is located in the borough of Queens, between the Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway and stretches from Flushing Bay, at the southern edge of LaGuardia Airport, to Union Turnpike.

The second largest public park in the City of New York (after Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx), it was created as the site of the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair and also hosted the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. It is maintained and operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The park is at the eastern edge of the area encompassed by Queens Community Board 4.[1]

Two World's Fairs

The 1,255 acres (5.08 km2) park was created from the former dumping ground characterized as "a valley of ashes" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The site, known at the time as the Corona Ash Dumps, was cleared by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, in preparation for the 1939-1940 World's Fair. Faced with having to dispose of the mountains of ashes, Moses strategically incorporated a significant portion of the refuse into the bases of the Van Wyck Expressway running along the eastern side of the park, the nearby Interboro Parkway (now Jackie Robinson Parkway), and the Long Island Expressway that divides the park into north and south halves. The Grand Central Parkway separates a western lobe from the main part of the northern half, while the east-west Jewel Avenue bisects the southern half.


Some of the buildings from the 1939 Fair were used for the first temporary headquarters of the United Nations from 1946 until it moved in 1951 to its permanent headquarters in Manhattan. The former New York City building was used for the UN General Assembly during that time. This building was later refurbished for the 1964 Fair as the New York City Pavilion, featuring the Panorama of the City of New York, an enormous scale model of the entire city.[2] It is one of two buildings that survive from the 1939-40 Fair, and the only one that remains in its original location. (The other is the Belgium exhibition building, disassembled and moved to the campus of Virginia Union University in 1941.) It is the home of the Queens Museum of Art, which still houses, and occasionally updates, the Panorama. The Unisphere, built as the theme symbol for the 1964/1965 World's Fair, is the main sculptural feature of the park. It stands on the site occupied by the Perisphere during the earlier Fair.

1965-present

One of the sculptures at the park, dedicated to the sporting events

Since 1978 the US Open tennis tournament has taken place in Flushing Meadows Park at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; its center court is Arthur Ashe Stadium and its secondary stadium court is Louis Armstrong Stadium. Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets since 2009, sits at the north end of the park. Shea Stadium, the Mets' previous home, once stood adjacent to Citi Field.

Rental boats are available for rowing and paddleboating on the park's Meadow Lake, which feeds northward into the Flushing River and thence into Flushing Bay. Meadow Lake is the site of the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York, and teams from New York practice in Meadow Lake during the summer months. The American Small Craft Association[3] (TASCA) also houses a fleet of over a dozen 14.5' sloop-rigged sailboats which are used for teaching, racing and recreation by the club's members. Bicycling paths extend around Meadow Lake and connect to the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. Paths around Willow Lake, the smaller and higher of the two lakes, in a natural wetlands area in the little-used far southern section of the park, are currently closed to the public.[4] The many recreational playing fields and playgrounds in the park are used for activities that reflect the vast ethnic mix of Queens; soccer and cricket are especially popular.

The park is also the home of Queens Theatre in the Park,[5] the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of ArtQueens Museum of Art, and "Terrace on the Park" (a banquet and catering facility, the Fair's former helipad).

The New York State Pavilion, constructed as the state's exhibit hall for the 1964/1965 World's Fair, is also a feature of the park. However, no new use for the building was found after the Fair, and the structure sits derelict and decaying. The other buildings left for a while after the Fair's conclusion to see if a new use for them could be found, such as the United States Pavilion, have subsequently been demolished. One such parcel became the site of the Playground for All Children, one of the first playgrounds designed to include handicapped-accessible activities. The design competition was won by architect Hisham N. Ashkouri and the facility was completed in 1981. It was refurbished and reopened in 1997.

By the early 2000's, the park had become the residence of a number of homeless people,[6] who received attention after five abducted, raped and threatened to kill a woman who had been sitting with her partner at a nearby subway station.[7]

On June 24, 2005, the park hosted the Reverend Billy Graham on what he stated was his last tour in North America.

A $66.3 million aquatic center, encompassing an Olympic-sized indoor pool and an NHL regulation-sized skating rink, opened in 2008. The facility, utilized by schools, leagues and community members of all ages, is the largest recreation complex in any New York City park, at 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2). The complex incorporates features for the physically disabled.[8]

Popular culture

Closer view of the Unisphere
The view of the park from the southern end of Meadow Lake.
  • The great ash heap/valley of ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was spruced up for the 1939 World's Fair and is now Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
  • The Unisphere and some of the buildings from the 1964 World's Fair can be seen in an episode of The Flintstones entitled, "The Time Machine", which originally aired on January 15, 1965.
  • In the series finale of the police sitcom Barney Miller, Detective Ron Harris considers resigning from the NYPD when he learns he is being assigned to Flushing Meadows.[9]
  • The 1978 film adaptation of The Wiz used the New York State Pavilion's Tent of Tomorrow as the set for Munchkinland.
  • They Might Be Giants shot the music video for "Don't Let's Start" in the Flushing Meadows Park.
  • In the 1989 film Black Rain, the opening dissolve has a stylized Japanese rising sun blending into a shot of the Unisphere with star Michael Douglas riding past on a motorcycle.
  • In the 1997 Music Video for (Notorious B.I.G) highly popular hit single "Mo Money Mo Problems" rap moguls Puff Daddy (Sean Combs) and Ma$e (Mase) appear to be dancing in front of the Unisphere.
  • In the 1997 movie Men in Black, Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) attempt to stop Edgar the Bug (Vincent D'Onofrio) from leaving earth in the observation tower, which transforms into an alien space ship, then crashes into the Unisphere.
  • The opening for the television series The King of Queens depict Doug (Kevin James) and Carrie (Leah Remini) playing in front of the Unisphere.
  • Flushing Meadows is referenced in the 9th-season episode of The Simpsons entitled "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson". Homer Simpson, badly needing to go to the restroom, sees a bus headed toward Flushing Meadows and imagines himself running through a green meadow filled with many toilets.
  • The park was the final destination on the first season of The Amazing Race.
  • The Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "World's Fair" includes scenes set in Flushing Meadows Park near the Unisphere, where a murder victim is discovered.
  • In the fourth episode of the 2007 HBO series Flight of the Conchords, Bret McKenzie takes a date to the Unisphere in the park.
  • The 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV features a full fictional recreation named "Meadows Park".
  • The CSI: NY episode "Manhattanhenge" depicts Flushing Meadows as a murderer's potential hiding place.
  • The ledges that surround the Unisphere have appeared in numerous professional skateboard videos.
  • Flushing Meadows plays host to the Stark Expo in the 2010 film Iron Man 2. It is also used for the same event in Captain America: The First Avenger

References

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

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