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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Louis Armstrong Stadium

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This stadium, located at the north end of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park near Shea Stadium, is dedicated to the legendary jazz musician Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong (1901-1971).

Louis Armstrong’s musical career had quite an unusual start: an arrest. An eleven-year-old Armstrong fired a pistol into the sky on New Years Eve, 1912 and a judge subsequently placed him in the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys. His first musical instruction came from the Home’s band director, Peter Davis. Young Armstrong rapidly made a name for himself locally as an up-and-coming jazz coronet and trumpet player. In 1924, Louis Armstrong and his new wife Lillian Hardin moved from his native New Orleans to New York City in hope of advancing his career as a jazz musician. After he joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, he was on the path to national renown.

By the time he had moved to Corona, “Satchmo” (short for “satchel mouth,” an apparent play on his breath capacity when playing his instruments) had become an international celebrity. He played with such legends as Bessie Smith (1894-1937), Glenn Miller (1904-1944), and Bing Crosby (1903-1977). Cutting records, performing for royalty, filming movies and playing in bands small and large, Armstrong traveled an average of 300 days out of the year. At the end of a series of appearances on Dick Cavett, the Tonight Show, and two weeks of performances in the Empire Room at the Waldorf Astoria, Louis Armstrong died on July 6, 1971.

The site of two World’s Fairs, Flushing Meadows Corona Park contains several of the City’s most recognizable landmarks. Built in Flushing Creek’s plain, the site was originally marshland before it was converted to landfill. Today the park is the second largest in the city, after Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. The site of the United States Open, one of four premiere Grand Slam events on the professional tennis tour, each year Flushing Meadows Corona park draws over three million people from all over the world for both spectator and recreational activities. The park is home to 11 major monuments, including Forms in Transit, The Rocket Thrower, and Freedom of the Human Spirit, all dating from the 1964 World’s Fair. A granite monument marks the spot where two time capsules designed to last 5,000 years are buried.

Originally constructed by the Singer Sewing Machine Company for its 1964-65 World’s Fair exhibit, the Singer Bowl was renamed for Louis Armstrong in 1972.  In 1978, the stadium was refurbished and reconfigured when the United States Tennis Association moved the annual U.S. Open to Flushing Meadows from its previous home in nearby Forest Hills.  In 1992, the newly constructed Arthur Ashe Stadium was built as part of a successful bid to keep the U.S. Open in New York, replacing Louis Armstrong Stadium as the main tennis venue at the Open.  Together with nearby Arthur Ashe and Grandstand stadia, an average of 30,000 tickets are sold for each day match.  Today, ten percent of Flushing Meadows Corona Park is devoted to the sport of tennis.

Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Corona Park Weather

  • Mon
    Chance Rain
    44°F
  • Tue
    Chance Rain
    52°F
  • Wed
    Heavy Rain
    59°F
  • Sun
    Chance Rain
    52°F

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