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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

West Meadow Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground draws its name from nearby Meadow Lake, the largest lake in New York City. Directly across from this site is Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the second largest park in the city and home to the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs.

Meadow Lake and adjacent Willow Lake are a wetland created by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981) for the 1939-40 World’s Fair. The area was originally called Fountain Lake and was renamed Liberty Lake in 1940, after the United States became involved in World War II. During the 1939-40 World’s Fair, the lake was home to a huge water amphitheater and Billy Rose’s Aquacade. While nearby Willow Lake is a nature reserve designed to preserve and showcase the wildlife and flora of a fresh-water lake, Meadow Lake is used largely for recreational purposes. The water amphitheater, boathouse, and concession building with waterside promenade all contribute to the lake’s appeal.

The Grand Central Parkway, which separates this park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, was built between 1931-36 as a limited-access thoroughfare connecting Queens Boulevard with Nassau County. The Grand Central Parkway’s initial budget was $6 million, but when it was completed, the costs had doubled. Governor Herbert H. Lehman (1878-1963) lauded the parkway as the “end of isolation for Long Island.” It eventually became much more than that, and provided access to the World’s Fair of 1939-40. By the 1950s, suburban development of Long Island and the upcoming 1964-65 World’s Fair prompted officials to adopt an expansion and renovation project for the parkway. The reconstruction project incorporated several new safety regulations, including improved median separations, shoulders, and ramps for acceleration and deceleration. New light-posts were installed, and several bridges were raised to enabled buses to travel on the parkway.

The City purchased this property, located at the base of a pedestrian footbridge that passes over the Grand Central Parkway Extension between 64th Avenue and 64th Road, in October 1938 as part of Flushing Meadows Park. It was eventually reassigned to conform to convergent districts, and was deemed a wholly separate park in February 1980. Through its history, the park was known simply as “Pedestrian Bridge and Meadow West Playground,” but Parks Commissioner Stern renamed the area West Meadow Playground in May 1997. The park contains several wooden benches around the perimeter, which is marked by a chain-link fence and several trees.

Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Know Before You Go

There are currently 6 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

PlaygroundsPlayground

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.


Recreation CentersAl Oerter Recreation Center

On Saturday, November 18, from approximately 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., access to Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the Al Oerter Recreation Center parking lot will be limited, due to the Queens Half Marathon. Roads will likely be closed during this time, so we advise taking public transportation if traveling in this area.
Anticipated Completion: 11/18/2017

Recreation CentersAl Oerter Recreation Center

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, this Recreation Center's hours will be reduced. On Wednesday, November 22, the facility opens at its normal time and closes at 5:00 p.m. The class schedule may change as a result, so please call the center. On Thursday, November 23, this facility is closed.
Anticipated Completion: 11/23/2017

Recreation CentersFlushing Meadows Corona Park Pool & Rink

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, this Recreation Center's hours will be reduced. On Wednesday, November 22, the facility opens at its normal time and closes at 5:00 p.m. The class schedule may change as a result, so please call the center. On Thursday, November 23, this facility is closed.
Anticipated Completion: 11/23/2017

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

ParkFlushing Meadows Corona Park

Due to major ongoing construction, the northeast section of Meadow Lake is closed. This project will reduce flooding in this area. There will be access to the boathouse and Meadow Lake from the Van Wyck Expressway South Exit 11 and from Jewel Avenue. For more information about this project, please visit our Capital Project Tracker.

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