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Project of the Month June '01

Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Ice Rink


PAUL ERSBOLL: Chief of Design

JOHN NATOLI: Chief Engineer

BERC KURKCYAN: Resident Construction Engineer

DAVID GOLDSTONE: Construction Project Manager

HOM AND GOLDMAN: Consultant Architects

Illustration of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Ice Rink

Funding: This project is funded by Mayor Giuliani, Borough President Shulman, and the City Council. The total budget is $32.9 million.

Location: Corona Park is located in Flushing Meadows Queens.

Site History: 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 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. Since 1978, the United States Open tennis tournament has been held at the National Tennis Center.


Illustration of the interior of the pool

This year, Parks will forge a great project- the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Ice Hockey Rink, a state-of-the-art athletic facility on a scale not built by Parks since Commissioner Moses' tenure. The $32.9 million project funded with $18.5 million in Mayoral funding, $11.4 from Queens Borough President, and $3 million from the City Council will herald the revitalization of the Flushing Meadow Corona Park with the facility, which will provide a year round natatorium and indoor ice hockey rink for recreational and competitive use.

The facility will be a multi-story building approximately 69,000 square feet in size. The 10 lane, Olympic size public pool will meet all the competitive regulation and will have moveable floors for a third of the pool that move to create a wading pool, a lap pool, and the City's only open diving pool. This floor will move from deck level to 7 feet 6 inches allowing swimmers of all ages and skill to enjoy the water. One end the pool will go as deep as 16 feet 8 inches allowing for the first diving area in a City operated pool in decades. The pool will be the first to open in a park in four decades.

Just as the 1939 ice rink, a relic from the World's Fair, closes, Flushing Meadows will open an NHL standard ice hockey rink, a year-round facility for competitive leagues and single skaters. The ice rink will meet NHL standards and will be outfitted with professional amenities. Both areas will have accommodate seating for over 500 people and will be fully equipped with locker rooms both for teams and individual users.

To protect the sports complex from the "mud waves" that can rip building foundations from the marshy ground, 700 steel piles will be packed into place with a pile driver. But perhaps the greatest feat of engineering and design: the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Ice Hockey Rink will be built to the scale of people and trees, and green space will be added, not subtracted. Trees, flowers, and shrubs will be planted in abundance. An open air deck will create continuity between the indoors and outdoors, and an indoor lounge and viewing area will look into both major recreational facilities. New Yorkers can look forward to using the new facility in 2002.