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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Topping-Out A New Pool And Ice Rink In Flushing

Photo by Daniel Avila

On October 26, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, former Borough President Claire Schulman, Economic Development Corporation Vice President David Kane, local representatives, and construction crews for the ceremonial “topping-out” of the new Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Ice Rink. Construction crews hoisted a beam with the Parks flag to join the American flag at the top the structure.  The historic topping-out ceremony is a celebration of the workers and their guests for the safe and successful completion of the highest point of a structure.  Following the ceremony, Commissioner Benepe and Queens Borough Commissioner Lewandowski donned harnesses and climbed atop the new roof. 

“The topping-out ceremony at the future Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Ice Rink celebrates an important milestone in the construction of what will be the largest recreational facility ever built in a City park,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.  “The Olympic-size public pool, the first indoor public pool built in a Queens park in four decades, and NHL-standard ice rink will help make Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Queens even more of an attraction.”

“It is very exciting to be a part of such a unique, attractive, and technically challenging public facility,” said James Abadie, the Principal in Charge with the construction management company Bovis Lend Lease LMB.  “The collaboration and cooperation between all team members is a testimony to the construction management process and truly models the best of a public/private relationship for a great facility.”

Flushing Meadows Corona Park will soon be home to a spectacular new recreation complex.  The largest recreation facility every built in a City park, it will house an Olympic-size pool and a NHL-standard ice rink.  The public pool and ice rink will serve as a year-round facility for competitive and recreational use.  The $60 million project, which was funded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and envisioned by former Queens Borough President Claire Schulman, is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2007.

The building is uniquely designed with a cable supported roof system that will allow for potential expansion to a larger venue.  The three-story lobby will provide a dramatic introduction to the building.  The ice rink will be at ground level to the north of the building.  The pool and diving tank will be on the second floor with dramatic views of the park.  The movable floor makes the Olympic-sized pool very flexible, creating the potential to have recreational swimming and competitive events simultaneously.  An outdoor terrace will be accessible from the pool deck. 

The century-old tradition of “topping-out” has mixed origins ranging from the ancient Chinese who smeared chicken blood on the highest timber of a new temple to the Teutonic tribes of Europe who placed fir trees on structures in an attempt to appease the spirits for the destruction of the timber used in the building.  Regardless of its roots, the practice of topping-out was brought to America by immigrants who became the country’s contractors and steelworkers.  Today, it is a celebration by workers and their guests for the placement of the topmost member of a structure, whether it is a bridge, an office tower or a recreation facility.  While there remains a great deal of work to be done to complete the structure, topping-out represents the safe and successful attainment of the highest point.

The construction of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Rink does not stand alone in the borough of Queens. Since 2002, Parks & Recreation has invested $157 million in Queens parks. There is also currently an additional $73 million in active construction to be completed over the next two years as well as $75 million in design or planning.



“Hell, I never vote for anybody.  I always vote against.”

W.C. Fields
(1880 – 1946)

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