Flushing Meadows Corona Park History & Development
Exclusive Coverage Of Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Special Section Dedicated To Our Coverage Of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Stories about the history of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and stories of developers trying to develop it and privatize it.
Yankees Join Sheik For NYC Soccer
Sheik & Yankees Team Up For NYC Soccer Team
May 21, 2013 / Queens Buzz. The Yankees joined the Sheik to acquire an MLS NYC soccer team, thus adding an influential local owner to the roster of MLS stadium supporters. The Sheik's Manchester Club would own the majority shares.
MLS is seeking to locate a 13 acre stadium in the middle of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. If professional soccer continues growing in popularity, MLS could quickly outgrow the proposed 25,000 seat stadium, and need to expand. Plans are to begin MLS soccer play in NYC in 2015.
Click here for related story on the history / issues associated with building stadiums in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The photo above was taken at an out-of-league soccer game played at CitiField in 2012.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park Update
USTA Proposal Moves Ahead / QMA Hosts Visioning
April 22, 2013 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz. In early April, there was a meeting held to vote on whether to give up 0.68 of an acre of Flushing Meadows Corona Park to the USTA to allow them to proceed with their expansion plans.
Most Queens elected officials have now taken public stands on the issue, as it is a matter of some concern with Queens voters. Nonetheless, in spite of their public statements, only a few City Councilmembers made the effort to show up to vote on it. According to a story in the Queens Chronicle, the only Queens City Councilmembers who showed up to vote on the proposed USTA Expansion Plan were: Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights, Peter Koo of Flushing, Donovan Richards of Rosedale and Ruben Wills of Jamaica. As we reported earlier this year, the Queens Community Boards representing the neighborhoods that had surrounded the park, had split votes on the matter with three Community Boards voting for it, and three voting against it.
Outgoing [term limited] Borough President, Helen Marshall, was the Queens elected official who made the decision for the borough, supporting the USTA expansion. According to the Queens Chronicle story, she was quoted as saying that she insists the alienated parkland be replaced. Her statement is at odds with the Bloomberg Administration position taken earlier this year, where they said that the Flushing Meadows Corona parkland doesn't have to be replaced by the USTA, even though NY State law requires it [apparently there is some wiggle room given to the municipal executive].
The Queens Museum of Art hosted a visioning session to see what the general public would like to see come of the park. Julissa Ferreras, City Councilmember representing Corona was on hand to speak, as well as several students from the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn which has a highly respected program for sustainable urban development. Participants included over 100 local residents as well as representatives of the USTA.
Whose park is it? And whose park will it be? Stay tuned - as you are likely to decide the matter by whomever you vote for in this upcoming election. Click here to read an early account of Flushing Meadows Corona Park history and click here to read our second account about early Flushing Meadows Corona Park development with relevant analogies to some of the proposed developments working their way through the governing process today.
CB Votes Split On USTA Expansion Plan
March 14, 2013 / Flushing Corona / Issues Facing Queens / Queens Buzz. The USTA has asked the city of New York to give it .68 of an acre of Flushing Meadows Corona Park so that it can proceed with an expansion plan. The expansion plan is estimated to increase the sports complex capacity for the U.S. Open by about a third, while increasing the USTA footprint in the park by .68 of an acre. The USTA informed the audience attending the Community Board 3 meeting that this will result in more jobs in Queens. They also talked about the positive estimated annual $784 million economic impact that the USTA has had on NYC - according to a study done by a private consulting firm named AKRF, Inc.
The detractors informed the audience that this is the first step in a much larger effort toward a massive privatization of Flushing Meadows Corona Park by several large, well-funded corporate interests. The opponents talked about three other proposals which were not a part of the USTA plan. These other proposals to develop private interests on public parkland include the development of a shopping mall by a private investment group in tandem with the owners of CitiField; 2) a condominium / hotel complex done by another group of private investors; and 3) a 13 acre soccer stadium by Major League Soccer, which is also a privately held corporation.
Community Board Tally & Boro Prez Candidates Positions
In the end Community Board 3 voted against the expansion plan, citing among other things, promises not kept when the USTA asked to expand its footpint in 1993. All six Community Boards have now voted on the USTA Expansion proposal, with three voting for it and three voting against it. We'll post a far more complete report on this Community Board Meeting at a later date.
While I was attending the Community Board 3 Meeting in Corona, all six Queens Borough Presidential candidates were attending a forum about the issues facing Queens at the Greater Astoria Historical Society in Astoria. The issue of turning over public parkland to private interests came up during the forum. To date only City Councilmember Tony Avella has come out against giving up public parkland to private interests. NY Senator Jose Peralta is the only other candidate to take a stance on the issue, but only on one of the proposed developments, namely the erection of the MLS Soccer Stadium on 13 acres of FMC Parkland [which he conditionally supports if MLS fulfills all of their promises]. All four other candidates have taken a wait-and-see stance on the issue.
Click here to read our past reports related to the proposed development plans for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The first report provides an early history of Flushing Meadows Corona Park I and the second report provided an intermediate history of Flushing Meadows Corona Park II which included a number of relevant historic lessons related to sports complex developments in FMCP as well as NYC.
Battle for the Heart of a Park ... and the Soul of a Borough
PART II - NYC Stadiums: Battle of the Titans
The NYC World's Fair: 1964 - 1965 in Flushing Queens
Click here for Part I of our report series on Developments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park where we journeyed back to the Corona Ash Dump, immortalized in the Great Gatsby, and later transformed into a World's Fair utopia by Robert Moses, Fiorello LaGuardia and the 1939 World's Fair committee.
The 1939 World's Fair attracted over 40 million people, but lost over $100 million, as it opened the year Nazi Germany beganinvading its European neighbors, and while Japan was busy invading China. Nonetheless, in spite of a financial failure for the 1939 World's Fair bondholders, the fair had enabled NYC and Robert Moses to complete phase one of his vision to transform the Corona Ash Dump into NYC's premier city park, and build a whole new network of highways around it.
Ebbets Field in Brooklyn & The Brooklyn Dodgers
We resume our story, after WWII, as a young lawyer in Brooklyn began working for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers played at Ebbets Field just east of Prospect Park in what is the now Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The year is 1943 as a 40 year-old lawyer, Walter O'Malley, leaves the Brooklyn Trust Company where he had oversight responsibilities for troubled companies, including the Brooklyn Dodgers.
You can click here to read Part II of our report on proposed developments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park entitled NYC Stadiums: Battle of the Titans.
Or click this link in the meantime to view Part I of our report series entitled - Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix - about the beginnings of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the 1939 World's Fair.
|F Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Pile of Aches 1939 Worlds Fair|
Battle for the Heart of a Park ... and the Soul of a Borough
The NYC World's Fair: 1939 - 1940 in Flushing Queens
PART ONE - Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix
Over the past six months we've been watching with interest as events have been unfolding regarding the building of a 25,000 seat soccer stadium right in the heart of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. There are also a number of other proposals working their way through the political process / local government, which calls for the cessation of public lands to build private enterprises on various sections of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Currently four separate proposals are in process for planned developments in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. They include: 1) a chain store shopping mall / complex in the southwest corner of the Citifield parking lot [pink], 2) a housing / condominium / hotel complex on the lands the city acquired in its use of eminent domain to develop Willets Point [blue], 3) the expansion of the USTA facilities in the northwest section of the USTA franchise in the park [orange] and 4) the erection of a thirteen plus acre stadium / sports complex in the middle of Flushing Meadows Corona Park [yellowish green].
The graphic above was provided by one of the community groups opposed to the Flushing Meadow Corona Park developments. It's worth noting that most of the colored areas already have pavement or structures covering the land. The exception is that of the proposed Stadium & Concert venue [yellowish green], which would be a completely new development, replacing water vessels which were created for the Worlds Fair. See the map in the header of this series [top of page] where the dark red square represents the approximate acreage and location of the proposed stadium / concert venue.
Queens Buzz has put together a series of reports, which we will run in the coming days about the proposed developments in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. This report starts with a bit of the history of the park, which began around the turn of the last century when Flushing Meadows Corona Park was just an ashpile.
The focus of this report is the 1939 NYC World's Fair which was held in Flushing Meadow Park as it was then called.
Flushing / Corona Related Info
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