Sunday, February 21, 2010

I LOVE NY 21 of 28 Places to Visit

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
Photos courtesy of

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, often referred to as Flushing Meadow Park, Flushing Meadows Park or Flushing Meadows, is located in the New York City borough of Queens, between the Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway and stretching from Flushing Bay 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.

The 1,255 acre (5 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. It is currently the only surviving building from the 1939 Fair, and 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.

The US Open tennis tournament takes 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 current home of the New York Mets, sits at the north end of the park. Shea Stadium, the Mets' previous home, once stood adjacent to Citi Field.

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