Flushing Meadows Corona Park

(click on thumbnails to enlarge)

Flushing Meadows / Corona Park is a 1,255 acre public park in Northern Queens in New York City.

The town of Vlissingen was first settled by the Dutch in 1645 under a charter of the Dutch West India Company and was named after a the company's home port in the Netherlands. The name Vlissingen supposedly means "salt meadow" and may have been a reference to the tidal flows of the meadow surrounding the Flushing River. The word Flushing was apparently a corruption of the name Vlinningen by the British settlers who inhabited the area and ultimately came to dominate it. (reference)

In the late 19th and early 20th century, this swampy site was a massive ash dump. Parks Commissioner and infrastructure czar Robert Moses led a project to reclaim the land as the site for the 1939/1940 World's Fair. Moses' plan was to use profits from the fair to convert the land into a public park after the closing of the fair, but the fair ended up losing money and the site was left to decay. Moses tried again at the end of his career with the 1964 World's Fair and although that venture also lost money, contracts with the participants mandated demolition of most buildings (which were intentionally not built to code) after the close of the fair. By 1967, Moses' vision for the park was finally realized.

Park Model from Queens Museum
Park Model from Queens Museum
Big Bad Bob Moses
Big Bad Bob Moses

While the park is a valuable recreational resource for the area residents, it pales in comparison to New York's other great urban parks as a thoroughly unsatisfying example of post-war urban design:

After being greeted at the Passarelle entrance by Andy Warhol's mosaic of Moses and looking over the winter-bare ballparks, empty fountains and crumbling relics of the 1964 fair, my mind kept going back to Percy Bysshe Shelley's 1817 poem Ozymandius:

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said--"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium

Astral Fountain

Ball Fields

Citi Field

Corona Yard

Eddies Garden

Ederle Terrace

Excedra

Flushing Creek

Fountain Of The Fairs

Fountain Of The Planets

Freedom Of The Human Spirit

Grand Central Parkway

Irt Substation 28

Long Island Expressway

New York State Pavilion

Ny Hall Of Science

Passarelle Entrance

Pitch And Putt Golf Course

Playgrounds

Pool And Ice Rink

Queens Museum

Rocket Thrower

Shea Stadium

Terrace On The Park

The Neighborhood

Ugly Duckling

Unisphere

Van Wyck Expressway

Worlds Fair Flagpoles

Worlds Fair Marina

Worlds Fair Trains