Oct. 28, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A dilapidated area in front of the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has been revamped following a major redevelopment by the city.
Park and elected officials cut the ribbon Wednesday to mark the unveiling of a new mist garden and other upgrades at the Fountain of the Fairs in Flushing – an axis of long rectangular pools on the eastern side of the Unisphere that have fallen into disrepair.
The western pool in front of the Unisphere has been reconstructed as part of a near $7 million renovation by the city. The project is the first in a three-part phase to renovate the entire axis.
A new interactive mist garden with specialized jets has been installed on top of the old pool to create a cooling cloud that will refresh visitors on summer days and serve as an area for children to play in.
Around 500 hidden jets shoot up into the air from an Art Deco-inspired pavement that has gone down over the pool.
Several new benches have been fitted on the outskirts of the garden and a new drinking fountain has also been put down.
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver attended the ribbon-cutting, joined by City Council Member Peter Koo and City Council Member Francisco Moya.
Silver said that the Fountain of the Fairs is an iconic symbol of the 1964 World’s Fair that keeps the city connected to its rich history.
“We’re thrilled to restore vibrancy to this historic site for the enjoyment of New Yorkers and visitors,” Silver said.
“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s investment, the revitalized Fountain of the Fairs will continue to serve as a symbol of Queens and place for peaceful respite for generations to come,” he said.
Fountain of the Fairs is officially completed at Flushing Meadows Corona Park @nycparks @allianceforfmcp. This misting plaza will cool you off and create memorable experiences. Designed for all ages. 📸 Daniel Avila. Rendering/design – @qrpartners/NYCParks #parks #publicspace pic.twitter.com/GtTh2Wjgyl
— Mitchell Silver (@mitchell_silver) October 28, 2020
Construction at the site began in September 2019 and took one year to complete. The total cost of the project was $6.86 million.
Koo said that investing in parks is intrinsically tied to the health and well-being of communities while Moya said that the revamp will help bring people together.
“Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a place where people from diverse communities from here and around the world gather with family, play soccer, enjoy nature, or meet their life partner like my parents did,” Moya said.
The Fountain of the Fairs was designed for the 1964 World’s Fair and connects the Unisphere to the Fountain of the Planets to the east.
The fountains were renovated in 2000 after decades of neglect but were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The middle fountain will be converted into a sunken amphitheater in the next phase of the redevelopment and a children’s water park is set to go down on the easternmost fountain.
I can already see the volleyball guys with exposed giant bellies enjoying their beer in the mist. Well done.
I was here a few weeks ago with a group of friends from the Caribbean and we were all quite impressed with this park. We parked by one of the lakes and hiked over to the Unisphere. They had no idea what the NYS Pavilion was and they were completely unaware of the connection between the Unisphere and the World’s Fair. O loved playing tour guide and tried describing how this area looked back then, drawing on my memory from when I was 7 years old. We also saw the Column of Jerash, new to me, and there were many park workers keeping everything nice. We can’t let NYC forget how vital this park is and its history. We will definitely return to Flushing Meadows in the spring and continue exploring this beautiful park.