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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, September 23, 2003


This sprawling 96-acre meadow overlooking Willow Lake is named in honor of Samuel and Ethel LeFrak. Samuel J. LeFrak (b. 1918) is the third generation chairman of the LeFrak Organization. Best known for developing nearby LeFrak City, a self-contained housing and commercial complex built in the 1960s, he has been one of the foremost leaders in the housing and energy industries of the 20th century.

The Lefrak Organization is one of the largest private building firms in the country. LeFrak’s grandfather, Aaron LeFrak, emigrated from France to America in 1898 with his son, Harry LeFrak (1885-1963). Aaron LeFrak founded the company in 1901, with Harry, and Samuel continued his leadership as the company expanded. Samuel J. LeFrak was born on February 12, 1918. He attended Erasmus Hall High School, the University of Maryland, Columbia University, and Harvard University. He married Ethel Stone, who attended Barnard College, in 1941, and together they had three daughters and a son. He worked with World’s Fair President Robert Moses (1888-1981) to construct housing for government officials for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The Lefrak Organization now also includes the Lefrak Oil and Gas Organization and the Lefrak Entertainment Company.

With his great knowledge of housing and energy technology, LeFrak has served six New York City mayors, five governors, and five presidents. He has been a member of the United States National Energy Council, the New York Task Force on Housing, and the New York City Industrial Development Corporation. Lefrak has also acted as Special Consultant for the State Department and the U.S. delegate to the International Conference on Housing and Urban Development in Geneva, and has been invited by many nations to advise on land development, helping to combat housing shortages and improve construction technology. LeFrak received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including being knighted by the Kings of both Sweden and Norway. In addition, he has an extensive art collection, which he has made available to museums throughout the world. Samuel J. Lefrak is now chairman of the Lefrak Organization, and his son, Richard, is president of the Lefrak Organization.

LeFrak Meadow is located near the southern tip of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, between the Van Wyck Expressway and the Jamaica Yards of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The meadow is part of the Willow Lake Natural Area. Willow Lake was constructed for the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on November 10, 1976 designated the 47.6-acre Willow Lake a protected freshwater wetland.

Samuel J. Lefrak and his wife, Ethel, donated $25,000 to the City Parks Foundation "Adopt-A-Park" Program for the creation of this meadow. The donation brought a needed restoration of the wetland natural area, which is home to a variety of wildlife. During the restoration, trees such as Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and different species of Maple (Acer spp.), Oak (Quercus spp.), and Dogwood (Cornus spp) trees were planted in the meadow. Lefrak Meadow features grasses and flowers such as Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). The wetland area also has painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), and muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus).



Commissioner Benepe today announced that Liam Kavanagh has been named First Deputy Commissioner of Parks & Recreation.

Since January 2002, he has served as Deputy Commissioner for Operations. He oversees the maintenance and operations of all parks, playgrounds and beaches. He also manages Parks & Recreation’s response to emergencies and runs the highly successful ParkStat Plus program. He has spearheaded the effort to improve horticulture and horticulture training and to restore water service to many neighborhood parks.

After starting his City Service at the Mayor's Office of Operations in 1980, Liam joined Parks twenty-two years ago as an Assistant to the Brooklyn Borough Commissioner. He has served as Director of Brooklyn Forestry and later as Deputy Chief of Operations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. From 1998 to 2002, he was Chief of Operations in Manhattan. He received his BA from Lehman College and lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.


The Parks & Recreation Staten Island Blood Drive conducted last Wednesday, September 10, 2003, was the most successful drive within the last two years of semi-annual drives in the borough.

A total of 34 pints of blood were collected as compared to 23 pints of blood during the previous drive in May, 2003. Last year, 18 pints of blood were donated in November, 2002 matching the same number collected in March, 2002.

Brooklyn/Staten Island Blood Services, the organization which conducts the drives, was very pleased with the continued rise in donations and a spokesperson added "we hope our partnership with Parks & Recreation on Staten Island continues to flourish and grow."


"Life is the game that must be played."

Edwin Arlington Robinson


Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Know Before You Go

There are currently 2 service interruptions affecting access within this park.


NYC Parks has removed slides in this park due to a manufacturer recall. The manufacture is currently working on an improved design and redesigned slides will be installed as soon as possible.

MarinasWorld's Fair Marina

Due to a major planned reconstruction project, Pier 1 at the World's Fair Marina is currently closed. Limited transient dockage is available for smaller recreational vessels - please contact the Dockmasters office at 718-478-0480 or VHF Ch71 for more information. There is no dockage available for larger vessels or commercial vessels, including passenger pick-up and drop-off. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please check back with the World's Fair Marina in the future for updates.
Anticipated Completion: Fall 2017

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