Queens is blooming with the warm weather. It's a great time to get out of the house and over to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, between Flushing and Corona, New York.
Flushing Meadows was once a swamp and an ash dump, but now it's the largest park in Queens and a great place to stretch your legs or ride a bike. There are also museums, sports, history, a zoo, and more to check out. The biggest draws are the Mets at Citi Field and tennis at the US Open, but the park can satisfy your need for an outing almost any day of the year.
- Directions to Flushing Meadows Park
- Walking Tour of Flushing Meadows Park
- Summer Festival Schedule
- Photos of Flushing Meadows
The Park is home to the Queens Museum of Art (and its amazing diorama of NYC's five boroughs), the New York Hall of Science (an interactive science learning center), the Queens Zoo, the Queens Theatre in the Park, and the Queens Botanical Garden. The park hosts several annual festivals, including the Colombian Independence Day Celebration (one of the largest Latino events in NYC) and the Dragon Boat Festival.
The World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadows Park twice: in 1939-40 and again in 1964-65. Two towers from the 1964-65 World's Fair -- also featured in Men in Black -- still dominate the area's skyline, though they are in a sorry state. Other facilities from the fairs include the NYC Building (housing the museum and an ice rink), the Unisphere, and numerous statues and monuments.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is ringed by highways, and is easily accessible by car, subway, train, or foot. There are four main sections:
- Corona Side: West of the Grand Central Parkway in Corona, the park consists of grass lawns, the New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Zoo, which includes a wonderful outdoor aviary in a geodesic dome that is open year-round.
- Central: Overpasses connect the western section to the central part of the park, which is home to the Unisphere, the Queens Museum of Art, the main sports fields, and the Queens Theatre in the Park. Citi Field and its parking lots dominate the northern rim of this section, along with the US Tennis Association's Arthur Ashe Stadium, where tennis greats meet every August for the US Open.
Southern: The central part of the Park connects to the southern via an underpass and an overpass. Meadow Lake is in the southern section, and is ringed by a trail for biking, running, inline skating, and walking. There are cricket fields and fields for baseball, softball, and soccer. Two large playgrounds (one on each side of the lake) are near picnic grills and tables. The boathouse rents out paddle boats and row boats, and a lakeside promenade gives folks a chance to catch a breeze at the northern tip of the lake.
Continue further south, across Jewel Avenue, and you'll find Willow Lake, which is currently inaccessible.
- Eastern: Separated from the rest of the park by College Point Boulevard, the Queens Botanical Gardens is more readily accessible from Main Street, south of downtown Flushing.
Park SafetyPlease note that the Park is normally a safe place, but violent crime has happened here. It would not be wise to stay after dark or after the Park's official close at 9 p.m. The Park is quite large, and it pays to keep aware when in isolated areas or alone.
- Update - In the winter of 2006 Flushing Meadows was the scene of a string of violent attacks and robberies, mostly at night and dusk. After police arrests of three men, crime in the park dropped rapidly. Again, the park is safe, but don't go at night.
What We LikeThe Unisphere is simply an inspiring sight. The soccer teams and cricket bowlers, the strollers and joggers, the families and skate boarders, they are all what makes the park great.
What We Don't LikeFlushing Meadows was built on a swamp. Drainage is still poor, especially around Meadow Lake, and after even a light rain, you should expect mud and puddles in the southern part of the Park.
Vandalism and littering are common eyesores. During a busy summer weekend, trash receptacles at Flushing Meadows can get overwhelmed. For a place beloved by many, more personal responsibility for garbage would go a long way to making it a cleaner park.