Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
It’s Queens’ Time To Shine
I was walking along the Pat Dolan Trail at Willow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP) one day last fall and was curious to see where this narrow, cleared, off-trail path would take me. So I reached the end and saw a small clearing with trees and native plants that were recently planted by NYC Parks’ Natural Resources Group (NRG). What I saw next was one of those never-forget-moments: I saw my first bluebird in Queens, NYC Bluebirds, which is our New York State bird, a rare sight in NYC.
Unless you’re a birder, this may not mean much but, to me, it brought up a sense of awe and gratitude that I live and work in Queens. Seeing a bluebird in Queens was symbolic of Queens’ recent transformation and ascent in popularity for travel destinations. Lonely Planet recently placed Queens as the number one travel destination in the U.S., citing its rich diversity in cultures and ethnicities, with an equally diverse food scene to boot. According to a documentary about Flushing, Queens I once watched, you could eat a different meal at a different place for every day of the year just in downtown Flushing.
Yes, the diversity in Queens is an attractive feature, but Lonely Planet forgot to mention an iconic destination in Queens: Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The park is actually located at the epicenter of NYC, and is surrounded by the Grand Central Parkway, the Long Island Expressway, and the Van Wyck Expressway, not to mention six community boards that represent Flushing, Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Kew Gardens Hills. FMCP is a physical manifestation of the rich diversity that can be found in Queens. You can see a diverse population flowing in and out of the park, from the Central and Latin Americans who religiously frequent the park’s soccer and volleyball fields, to the tourists that have turned taking a photo in front of the Unisphere, with arms up as if lifting up the world, into a rite of passage. The Unisphere is a main attraction in FMCP, and was recognized by the NBA recently as Queens’ symbol when they incorporated it in the design of its upcoming All-Star game jersey (the five boroughs are represented by five stars, and the one for Queens’s embodies the Unisphere’s metal-grid-like design).
FMCP is most often associated with the Mets at Citi Field and the annual U.S. Open, but FMCP is much more than that. I invite Parkies to come to FMCP and experience all there is to do here. Check out the iconic Unisphere (judgment-free zone here regarding your cliché Unisphere selfies). Explore the Queens Museum and all of its upgrades and new exhibits. Gaze upon and appreciate the animals at the Queens Zoo (feeding and petting the Nubian goats is highly recommended). Stimulate your mind at the NY Hall of Science. Go to Ederle Terrace and rent a paddle boat for a spin on Meadow Lake, or rent a bike and travel throughout FMCP. There you’ll find chopper bikes, surreys for family and friends up to six, and bicycles built for two. Use our many soccer, baseball, and volleyball fields. Enjoy a family outing at one of our many barbeque spots. Or just walk and enjoy the open green spaces.
To think, all it took were a few bluebirds and a Lonely Planet publication to inspire me to write about Queens and FMCP, and all they can offer.
-Submitted by Woo Sung Park, Conservation Corps Fellow at Flushing Meadows Corona Park Administrator’s Office
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Know Before You Go
Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool & Rink remains closed to the public until further notice. Some recreation centers are being used for COVID-19 testing and vaccination services, the Learning Bridges program, and critical seasonal training. Please visit our Recreation Centers page to find an alternate recreation center.
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.
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- Barbecuing Areas
- Baseball Fields
- Basketball Courts
- Bicycling and Greenways
- Dog-friendly Areas
- Fitness Equipment
- Football Fields
- Golf Courses
- Handball Courts
- Hiking Trails
- Ice Skating Rinks
- Indoor Pools
- Kayak/Canoe Launch Sites
- Media Labs
- Model Aircraft Fields
- Paddleboat Rentals
- Recreation Centers
- Skate Parks
- Soccer Fields
- Spray Showers
- Tennis Courts
- Volleyball Courts
- Wi-Fi Hot Spots
- Zoos and Aquariums