Flushing Meadows Corona Park
This circle honors Calvert Vaux (1824-1895) the English architect who spent 40 years of his distinguished career in New York City. He designed private homes, public housing, apartment complexes, and public institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His partnership with Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) generated the designs for Central Park, Prospect Park, Morningside Park, and Fort Greene Park.
Calvert Vaux, born in London, graduated from grammar school and his aptitude in math earned him an apprenticeship with a prominent architect. As an apprentice he learned contemporary styles and encountered others whose influence is evident in Vaux’s later work. In 1850, Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852) who developed the idea for Central Park with William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), traveled to England, in part for a vacation, but with the primary goal of finding an architect to match his gardening abilities for his landscaping business. He found Vaux, and they returned to Newburgh, New York, designing houses and gardens in the Hudson Valley.
In 1850, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), a Connecticut born man who acquired little formal education and choose to learn about the world by traveling, had just returned from England. He turned his travel diary and the letters he sent home into a book, Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England (although his father bought him two farms, working on them frustrated him) and excerpts were printed in Downing’s Horticulturist. Through the publishing, he met Downing and Vaux who agreed that a well-designed park could foster better character in the people who used them.
On July 28, 1852, Downing died on the steamboat Henry Clay, which had aboard a party of his friends and family. The boiler exploded, and rather than save his life, Downing stayed onboard the burning hulk, throwing deck chairs into the river for the escaping passengers to use as life-preservers. Vaux ran the landscaping company alone until 1856 when he moved to New York City and immediately involved himself with the scandal looming around the construction of Central Park.
In 1857, construction for Central Park began, and through a series of lucky coincidences, Olmsted acquired the position of Superintendent of Construction. Nonetheless, the initial plan for the park, which Olmsted efficiently put to action, fell short of the lofty ideals of beauty to which the commissioners overseeing Central Park aspired. They announced a design competition for a new plan and Vaux sought to enter, but he needed a partner who could provide him a wealth of first hand experience about the territory. He sough out the man he met seven years earlier in upstate New York and whose job it was to know every foot of the land: Frederick Law Olmsted.
Each holding other jobs while they planned their entry, the men worked at night during the winter of 1857-58 to create their vision of Central Park. The resulting design surpassed the others thanks to the combination of Vaux’s excellent rendering skills and Olmsted’s expert knowledge of the park’s topography. The team went on to design Prospect Park in Brooklyn as well as other urban parks throughout the country. In 1895, Calvert Vaux drowned under mysterious circumstances (some say it was suicide) in Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn.
This circle stands in front of Parks Olmsted Center, adjacent to Arthur Ashe stadium, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In this building, designers create the plans for all Parks projects from massive park renovations to animal art sculptures that adorn playgrounds. Using the names Olmsted and Vaux in and around the design center serves both as tribute to the great men who designed parks in the past and as inspiration for those people who design for our future.
Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Know Before You Go
Al Oerter Recreation Center
As of June 14, 2021, Al Oerter Recreation Center is open on a limited basis. Our recreation centers are currently only open to patrons with an active membership as of March 2020. We are not registering new members at this time.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool & Rink
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.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2020
World'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: Spring 2021
- NYC PARKS RE/NAMES 16 SITES IN HONOR OF THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN NYC
- NYC PARKS ISSUES REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR BICYCLE RENTALS IN QUEENS
- FOUNTAIN OF THE FAIRS RESTORED WITH $6.8 MILLION UPGRADE AT FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK
- 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