Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The Daily Plant : Wednesday, August 28, 2002
FLUSHING MEADOWS-CORONA PARK
SERVES UP WORLD-CLASS TENNIS
The US Open 2002 began on Monday, August 26 with a packed stadium and tennis enthusiasts. In the audience to watch the opening ceremonies and the first round of men’s and women’s singles were Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. The tennis tournament concludes on Sunday, September 8 with the men’s singles final and women’s doubles final. The USTA National Tennis Center, including the Arthur Ashe Stadium, are in Parks’ own Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This year is the tournament’s 121st anniversary. The first competition was played in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1881. The all-male tournament went coed in 1887 with the addition of women’s singles and then women’s doubles entered the arena in 1889. Since 1978, the US Open tennis tournament has been held at the National Tennis Center. Flushing Meadows- Corona Park offers a lot more besides end-of-summer tennis excitement. Below you can find some historical information about Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
This 1,255-acre park has historical, recreational and environmental significance. The former dumping ground labeled a "valley of ashes" by F. Scott Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby" has become Queens' largest park, and one of New York City's flagship parks.
The site which is now Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is historically important not just to New York, but to the entire country. In the 1930s, in one of the period's largest reclamation project in the United States, Robert Moses converted the swampy area into a 1,200-acre fairground for the 1939 World's Fair. The fairground-turned-park hosted its second World's Fair in 1964. The structures that remained from the two fairs became the foundation for the growing park, and the Unisphere--left from the 1964 Fair and recently designated as a city landmark--has become the park's well-known symbol.
For the five-year span between 1946 and 1950, the first United Nations assembled within the park. Two professional sports facilities located within Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are Shea Stadium, home to the New York Mets, and the USTA National Tennis Center, available for public play and tournaments. Both are historically significant. Two World Series championships, the Mets 1969 and 1986 victories, took place at Shea Stadium.
The current shape of the park is an oval stretching from Flushing Bay to Union Turnpike. Within the park, there are many places for relaxation and recreation. Among the park’s 124 acres of natural areas are Flushing Creek and Bay, Willow Lake and expanses of meadow and marshland. Meadow Lake--the 84-acre manmade, freshwater lake--is New York City's largest lake.
Cultural institutions in the park are plentiful, appealing to a wide variety of interests. Today, the New York Hall of Science, a relic from the 1964 World's Fair, houses a hands-on science and technology museum. Fine arts exhibitions, performances and films are presented at the Queens Museum of Art. The visual arts center also displays the world's largest architectural model of an urban area. Those who are theatrically inclined can attend a variety of professional and local performances at the World's Fair Theaterama in the Queens Theater in the Park. Animal lovers can enjoy the exhibits of North American animals in natural settings at the Queens Wildlife Center. The adjacent Children's Farm features domestic animals. The 39-acre Queens Botanical Garden is filled with garden displays and tree and flower collections.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, September 6, 1989)
LABOR OF LOVE AT ROCKAWAY BEACH
On Labor Day, as America toasted working men and women, Parks celebrated play.
A HAGS "Swedish" playground was dedicated in Rockaway, Queens a few feet from the boardwalk at Beach 73rd Street and Shore Front Parkway. HAGS playgrounds are manufactured in Sweden and are comprised of modular equipment which can be "custom tailored" to suit the needs of a particular site.
"This playground is one of several now installed around the city and is one of three in the borough of Queens, " said Commissioner Stern. "The other two were installed in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and have proven to be safe, durable, and very popular with the kids."
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"In the final analysis there is no solution to man's progress
but the day's honest work, the day's honest decisions,
the day's generous utterances and the day's good deed."
Clare Booth Luce