Tag Archives: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Queens Museum, Parks Dept. ask communities to redesign Flushing Meadows


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

What will Flushing Meadows Corona Park look like in the future? The Queens Museum and the Parks Department are asking members of communities around the park to come up with ideas and solutions to make the green space more accessible to local communities.

“This is a bit of an experiment,” said Jose Serrano, the museum’s community organizer. “Instead of having people give us their ideas in some kind of meeting, we asked, why don’t we equip them with the tools to improve the park creatively and practically.”

Serrano and the Parks Department are asking the public to submit ideas on how to improve the parks connection and the way it’s used with the surrounding neighborhoods.

The deadline is Oct. 25 and 20 people will be chosen to create an exhibition project that will be shown next year at the museum. Over the course of a year, the 20 selected people will learn more about the park and its pros and cons through a series of hands-on learning events.

Serrano said that they will be only accepting people from communities like Flushing, Corona and Forest Hills because they are directly connected to the park.

“They’re meant to be community designs,” he said. “And we want to give people the confidence to talk to decision makers.”

At the museum’s exhibition, the community members will present their ideas to these “decision makers” and, Serrano hopes, affect change in how the park can be changed.

The park was created for the 1939-40 Worlds Fair and as a fair ground, Serrano said, it is designed to control who enters the area. But now, as a public park, a design for controlling fare-goers no longer makes sense.

“The park will be changed to make it more open to people,” Serrano said. “Can we put the community’s signature on the solutions?”

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Real estate roundup: 5Pointz demolition progress


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jeremiah's Vanishing New York

5Pointz Falling

“You can see the destruction as you roll past on the 7 Train, looking down into rubble. And get a closer look on the ground, through a grimy plastic window in the plywood demolition fence.” Read more [Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York]

5Pointz Demo

Queens’ ‘Forgotten River’ Looks Ahead to Cleanup and Change

“The 12th hole of the Pitch ‘N Putt Golf Course in Flushing Meadows Park might seem like an odd place to contemplate the future of New York City’s coastline. But if you stand there long enough, you might begin to see things.” Read more [Curbed]

New Ozone Park Public School Set to Open in Sept. 2017

“The city School Construction Authority indicated last week that the new public school designated to be built on an empty lot in Ozone Park is approximately 60 percent of the way through the design phase.” Read more [The Forum] 

Real estate roundup: $750M College Point Police Academy delayed again, Meadow Lake to get cleanup


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the NYPD

New $750 million NYPD Police Academy in Queens faces another setback with defective gym floor

“Cadets attending the NYPD’s new multimillion-dollar Police Academy in Queens may be asked to participate in a new physical fitness regimen — ripping out the broken gym floor.

“A state-of-the-art polyurethane floor recently installed in the soon-to-be opened $750 million NYPD training ground in College Point has already began to warp and buckle and will need to be torn out and replaced — possibly delaying the facility’s opening, police officials confirmed Friday.” Read more [The New York Daily News]

Long neglected, lakes and ponds in city parks will get some attention

“It is the largest lake in New York City, a historic salt marsh that was flooded when Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was fashioned from a former ash dump to host the 1939 World’s Fair.

“But while years of effort and millions of dollars have gone toward cleaning up the city’s major waterways, like the Hudson and Bronx Rivers, city officials and parks advocates have paid less attention to Meadow Lake and the four dozen other lakes and ponds scattered across the parkland.” Read more [The New York Times]

5 factors that could impact Chinese property investment in NYC

“As Chinese property developers and investors look to generate bigger profits by looking beyond their local markets, questions have arisen about what’s actually driving the influx of cash – and what could slow the flow.” Read more [The Real Deal]

Armed robber stole more than $4K from Queens Zoo: NYPD  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Police are looking for a suspect who held up two employees at the Queens Zoo Sunday afternoon, taking off with thousands in cash.

The armed robbery, first reported by NYC Park Advocates, happened around 4:30 p.m., an hour before closing at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park zoo, according to authorities. The suspect allegedly came up to two zoo workers, a 56-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man, and displayed a gun.

He then pointed the weapon at the woman while the other employee filled a bag with $4,873, cops said. The suspect then fled.

Authorities describe the suspect as Hispanic, around 30 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 150 pounds.

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Cosmos players teach kids soccer in Flushing Meadows Corona Park  


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of New York Cosmos

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

More than 50 children had an exciting time as they kicked a ball around with New York Cosmos players at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Tuesday. The children, between the ages of six and 14, were participating in the second of five free Back to School clinics organized by the soccer team and led by their coaches and players.

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Sporting the free green Cosmos T-shirt that they received, the children interacted with players David Diosa and Sebastian Guenzatti. Several of the children participating in the clinic were part of the nonprofit organization Hour Children that works with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children to help them successfully rejoin the community.

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Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said that his organization is committed to developing grassroots soccer. “Providing local kids with the opportunity to learn from our coaches and players is just one of the many ways in which we can continue to give back to the community,” he said.

Every child who attended the clinic also received a free voucher which will allow them and one adult chaperone entry to any one of the Cosmos’ final four home matches of the NASL Fall Season.

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The clinic heads to Brooklyn on Sept. 16 and returns to the Cosmos’ training pitch Mitchel Field in Hempstead, Long Island on Sept. 17. Space is limited; preregister at www.nycosmostdp.com.

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LIRR Mets-Willets Point Station getting $9.7 million makeover


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Long Island Rail Road ‘s Mets-Willets Point Station will be getting a $9.7 million renovation that calls for, among other things, an elevator to ease access from the platform to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the National Tennis Center and Citi Field, according to the MTA.

The funds come from the MTA and plans are currently being made for the project to be completed by 2016. The MTA hasn’t made a decision about the designs for the additions. But the plans are being designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by installing tactile warning strips at the edges of the platform and constructing new staircases with guardrails and handrails. An MTA spokesman said that designs will be complete by 2015

“The MTA and the Long Island Rail Road are committed to doing our part so LIRR customers with disabilities can attend the U.S. Open, Mets games and other special events that come to Flushing Meadows Park,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said.

The renovations also include the extension of the platform to accommodate 12-car trains, a new canopy fully covering the platform, and new lighting and communication systems.

The Mets-Willets Point Station, located on the railroad’s Port Washington Branch, is strictly a special events station, open only when the Mets are playing or the U.S. Open is underway. The station was opened in 1964 for the 1964-65 World’s Fair but it was built without special accommodations for people with mobility impairments.

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NY Hall of Science $15M renovation nearing completion


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The New York Hall of Science is in its final stage for an approximately $15 million renovation of its Great Hall, which was originally built for exhibitions for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The project, which began in August 2012, was supposed to wrap up this August. But due to unforeseen problems, such as the need to repair concrete walls, the completion was pushed back and now the project is expected to be completed by spring 2015, according to the project manager.

The revitalization seeks to clean up and repair the interior of the building— which had been in need of an upgrade for about three decades — and add new lighting, new heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, and new communication equipment.

Ennead Architect’s Todd Schliemann, the design partner in charge of the renovation, called the building’s architecture unique and said it is one that should be treasured.

“The purpose was to renew the building so it could live for another 50 years. It’s a remarkable piece of architecture. It’s very unique in its form,” he said. “I think we have an obligation to preserve the best of our architecture, because it’s our culture.”

The project also will drain the reflecting pools outside of the building on the terrace and add a new outdoor classroom, a walkway with plants and benches, and renovate stairs leading to other sections of the Hall of Science.

Work on stairs

The Great Hall is mainly used as an event space. It has 90-foot tall ceilings, and about 5,000 square feet of space. The exterior is made of concrete and cobalt.

With more than 450 exhibits that explore biology, chemistry and physics, the Hall of Science serves over 500,000 visitors each year.

Full shot construction work

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US Open inadvertently shines a light on local soccer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

For many tennis fans the US Open is the closest thing to heaven.

The chance to watch the world’s premier tennis players battle for the country’s top title and partake in numerous tennis-related activities draws some 700,000 fans annually to the two-week sporting event in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

But inadvertently, the Grand Slam literally shone a light on soccer as The Courier observed fans of the world’s most popular sport playing games under the lights of a US Open parking lot on Monday—the tournament’s opening night.

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The soccer players were of various ages and played mixed-gender pick-up games, complete with two white mini goals.

Anyone who frequents Flushing Meadows Corona Park knows how popular soccer is for local players and fans. On any given day—with appropriate climate conditions—the fields are occupied with soccer matches for various age groups.

The sport is so popular officials tried to build a 20,000 to 25,000-seat stadium in the park for a new MLS team. But park advocates fought to keep the stadium out.

Since the soccer fields don’t have lights, most stop playing when it becomes night time, according to players.

However, temporary lights have been set up in the US Open “H” parking lot near the New York Hall of Science as evening matches tend to run late into the night, giving Queens soccer lovers some extra playing time.

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NY Hall of Science challenges people to reinvent breakfast


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Forget about the breakfast of champions. The New York Hall of Science is holding a contest to reinvent breakfast using science.

The science and technology museum is calling the contest the Design Lab Challenge and they are asking people to take the first meal of the day and change it in whatever way.

“Imagine a tool, design, gadget or idea that will elevate your breakfast experience,” the institution’s website instructs. “A fix for soggy cereal or burnt toast? Something to make breakfast more fun? You don’t need a lab or a celebrity chef – just use materials you have at home, at work or in school.”

The idea for the challenge came from the museum’s new installment, Design Lab, which is built on the general notion of using resourcefulness and ingenuity to find solutions for basic engineering and design problems, according to the museum’s announcement. The breakfast challenge tacks the notion onto food.

The Design Lab Challenge is open to anyone older than 13. To enter, participants must create a video or take a photo that shows off their idea for “the best breakfast ever.” And then the idea, or even working prototype, can be uploaded to the contest webpage at challenge.nysci.org or post it on Twitter or Instagram using #breakfastchallenge. Entries must be submitted by Sept. 1.

 

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19th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day to kick off US Open with concerts, tennis programs


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is hoping to kick off the US Open with a blast through the 19th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day event.

Tennis and musical stars will combine on Saturday to bring a day of fun activities and performances, while signaling the start of the two-week Grand Slam tournament in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Every year, Kids’ Day displays some of the music industry’s top up-and-coming performers at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Last year, Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone took part in the event, and past acts include Justin Bieber, Rihanna, the Jonas Brothers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sean Kingston, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

This year country superstar Hunter Hayes, duo MKTO, girl group McClain, British pop rock band The Vamps, teen sensation Madison Beer and DJ Salerno, among others will headline the list of performers for the event.

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Besides the concerts, there will be a variety of tennis programs for kids to learn more about the game, such as lessons with professional teachers, special technology to test the speed of kids’ serves and obstacle courses to challenge agility and balance. Fans can also get autographs and watch some pros as they practice for the tournament.

“Not only is Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess a fantastic way to kick off the US Open, but it’s also a great time to encourage youth to be active, play tennis and develop healthy habits,” said USTA Executive Director and COO Gordon Smith. “This annual event continues to bring the entire family together for a fun-filled day of sports and entertainment.”

Michelle

Various celebrities and tennis stars usually host the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. First lady Michelle Obama and Serena Williams shared the stage in last year’s event. This year, actors Jeff Sutphen, China Anne McClain and fitness trainer Shaun T will host the event and US Open men’s singles No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic will make an appearance.

For more information on the event, click here.

 

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Serena Williams to host tennis clinic with Queens youngsters


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dominick Totino

Defending US Open champion Serena Williams is set to serve up a fun clinic for some lucky local kids.

The 17-time Grand Slam singles champion is hosting a youth tennis clinic on Thursday just days before the 2014 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

About 25 children ages 7 to 12 from the Corona-based Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities Community Center are set to meet and play with Williams.

The clinic is part of the “Returning the Love” initiative, where players reach out to surrounding community organizations both on and off the court.

 

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First phase of National Tennis Center expansion complete


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy United States Tennis Association

The United States Tennis Association announced Monday the completion of the first phase of a five-year, $500 million transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, just weeks ahead of the 2014 US Open.

The renovations include new elevated seating around Courts 4, 5 and 6 that create a three-court stadium viewing experience for fans.

The elevated seating area will hold more than 1,300 fans, and Court 5 will be the US Open’s seventh television court. It will also feature two video screens and electronic line calling.

The changes to the courts will be followed by other expansions of the National Tennis Center, which include two new stadiums to replace the Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand stadiums, a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the expansion of the south section of the tennis center campus to accommodate an additional 10,000 fans daily during the Grand Slam.

The entire project is projected to be completed by 2018.

The 2014 US Open begins on Monday, Aug. 25, and concludes on Sept. 8.

 

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Former 1964 World’s Fair office building set for upgrade


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy NYC Department of Parks and Recreation


Recent talks of upgrading World’s Fair relics seem to focus on the New York State Pavilion.

But the Olmsted Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which was constructed in 1964 and used as temporary offices for Robert Moses and the World’s Fair Corporation staff during the colossal event, is also getting a makeover.

The Parks Department announced Aug. 4 that it is collecting bids for a contractor to renovate the center, which is named in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer of Central, Prospect and Riverside parks. Today, the building houses the bulk of the agency’s capital project staff.

The renovation project, which is designed by BKSK Architects, is split in two phases.

The first is the expansion of the center with a new 10,000-square-foot annex building, which is nearing completion.

The second phase, which will commence in early 2015, will technologically enhance the building and resolve flooding problems. It will include a new water channel system to lead water into bioswales that will contain and absorb it.

The renovated building will include Kebony wood for the walkways, complimented by steel railings and stainless steel cabling.

The construction will also include new siding to improve the center’s resistance to weather, and reconfiguration of the interior to accommodate employees and people with disabilities.

The bids are due Sept. 8.

 

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Vandals damage NYS Pavilion


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Piro

BENJAMIN FANG

Vandals caused mischief at the storied New York State Pavilion last weekend, setting a stolen van ablaze and damaging its terrazzo map, according to a member of an advocacy group for the structure.

John Piro, co-founder of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, a local group dedicated to restoring the 1964-1965 World’s Fair figure in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, said the delinquents were causing havoc.

“They came in with a stolen van, broke the lock [of the park] and set the van on fire,” said Piro, who saw the aftermath on Monday morning after the Parks Department saw it on Sunday.

He said they also burned the tarp on the gravel, knocked down steel beams and even damaged what’s left of the Pavilion’s terrazzo map on its ground by using a cinder block to smash the map’s corner panel.

“It’s heartbreaking, after all the work we’ve done,” Piro said. “Hopefully it will never happen again.

THE COURIER/File photo

The incident, first reported by the New York Daily News, comes at the heels of the World’s Fair 50th anniversary celebration just two months ago. The Pavilion opened to the public for the first time in decades this April to also commemorate the historic event.

Last November, the Parks Department released plans to fix the relic, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. Borough President Melinda Katz created a task force of local officials, and civic and community leaders to construct a plan for the Pavilion’s future.

For now, Piro said he is just grateful nothing worse happened.

“They could have caused a lot more damage,” he said. “Now we have to try to do something preventative.” He said they’re looking into something along the lines of an alarm.

The Parks Department said it inspected the site and only found minimal damage.

“This will not have any effect on our efforts to stabilize and preserve the New York State Pavilion,” parks officials said.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

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Annual Tour de Queens draws more than 1,200 riders


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Transportation Alternatives


More than 1,200 bicyclists from around the city participated in the 7th Annual Tour de Queens, a 20-mile ride that travels through several neighborhoods in the borough.

The annual ride on Sunday by Transportation Alternatives began in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in the plaza between the Unisphere and the Queens Museum, and took cyclists of all ages through East Flushing, Murrary Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst and Whitestone.

While the event bears a resemblance in name to the rigid Tour de France biking competition, the Tour de Queens is not a race. Participants rode through streets at a leisurely pace with the NYPD and volunteers from Transportation Alternatives acting as safety marshals.

Proceeds from the event will go toward advocacy efforts to enhance public transportation and make the streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

 

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