Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

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Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, occasionally referred to as Flushing Meadows Park, is located in northern Queens, New York City, USA, roughly at the intersection of the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway. It is the third largest public park in the City of New York and was created as the site of the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair and also hosted the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. It is run and operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Image:Worlds Fair NYC 1964.jpg
The Unisphere, in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens.

The 1,255 acre (5 km²) park was created from the former dumping ground characterized as "a valley of ashes" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The site, originally known as the Corona Ash Dumps, was cleared by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, in preparation for the World's Fair. Faced with the problem of disposing of the mountains of ashes, Moses strategically incorporated a significant portion of the refuse into the bases of the Van Wyck, Jackie Robinson, and Long Island Expressways that crisscross the park.

Some of the buildings from the 1939 Fair were used for the first temporary headquarters of the United Nations from 1946 until it moved to its permanent headquarters in Manhattan in 1951. The former New York State building was used as the UN's General Assembly during this time. This building was later refurbished for the 1964 Fair as the New York City Pavilion, featuring the Panorama of the City of New York, an enormous scale model of the entire city. It is currently the only surviving building from the 1939 fair, and the home of the Queens Museum of Art, which still houses, and occasionally updates, the Panorama.

The Unisphere, built as the theme symbol for the 1964/1965 World's Fair, is the main sculptural feature of the park. It stands on the same site occupied by the Perisphere during the 1939/1940 World's Fair.

The observatory towers in Flushing Meadows Park and the Unisphere.

The US Open Tennis Championship takes place in Flushing Meadows Park at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; its center court is Arthur Ashe Stadium and its secondary stadium court is Louis Armstrong Stadium. Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, sits at the north end of the park.

Rental boats are available for rowing on the park's two lakes, Meadow and Willow, which feed into the Flushing River and thence into Long Island Sound. Bicycling paths extend around the lakes. The many recreational playing fields and playgrounds in the park are used for activities that reflect the vast ethnic mix of Queens; soccer and cricket are especially popular.

The park is also the home of Queens Theater in the Park, the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, "Terrace on the Park" (a banquet and catering facility, the Fair's former helipad), and an indoor ice skating rink.

The New York State Pavilion, constructed as the state's exhibit hall for the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair, is also a feature of the park. However, no new use for the building was found after the Fair and the structure sits derelict and decaying, a stark contrast to the well-maintained park. The futuristic towers of the New York State Pavilion were featured as a key plot element in the 1997 movie Men in Black. The other buildings left for a while after the Fair's conclusion to see if a new usage for them could be found, such as the United States Pavilion, have subsequently been demolished. One such parcel became the site of the Playground for All Children, one of the first playgrounds designed to incorporate normal and handicap-accessible activities, a design competition won by architect Hisham N. Ashkouri and completed in 1981. It was refurbished and reopened in 1997.

Also, in 2001, the show The Amazing Race used the Park as the final destination of the first season.

On June 24, 2005, the park hosted the Reverend Billy Graham on what he stated was his last tour in North America.

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Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

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