I have a week off of work and I am not going away on vacation. It doesn't mean I'm sitting at home the whole time, not when the weather is gonna hit the high 90s midweek. Global warming here we come.
I have took it upon myself to visit some places nearby I've never seen in my life, Some of which I waited decades to see. Flushing Meadows Corona Park was one of them.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park? Yep, Ever since I was a little kid when I saw an episode of the Flintstones where they go to the future to see the Worlds Fair I've wanted to see the place. That Worlds Fair took place in 1964 which was a few years before I was born. I was always fascinated by that time period and the fair seemed spectacular with its look at the future. Most of the remnants of the fair is gone but a few notable pieces remain. It thought it would be cool to see the park in its place. I remember loving seeing the site of the 1962 Worlds Fair for the first time when I first went to Seattle.
Now when I was growing up and had some relatives living in Flushing, My family would drive by and I'd gaze at the Unisphere at a distance and wish we would go see it, but I couldn't drive so no go. When I lived in Manhattan I never got bored enough to pay a visit to Queens to see it. Heck I never even saw a Mets game in my four years at SVA.
Anyway, I like going into the city because the town of Union has nothing going on but rarely go outside Manhattan. So I thought I'd take the familiar 7 train to the Shea Field stop but this time I walked in the other direction to the site of the two Worlds Fairs. Now it's been 46 years since the last fair was there and the ride on the 7 has views of some of the most intense and ugly graffiti you can find strewn throughout every building in view. So I know at best when I get to the park I'll see the faded glory of time gone by.
Flushing Meadows Park is the second largest park in NYC. It's not the best maintained park with certain parts of it looking like a sad reminder of what was once a glorious place. However, The park is very well used with so much activity going on the unkempted fields. Every sport activity you can imagine was being played. Baseball, softball, football, futbol, volleyball and even cricket was being played. There was also some sort of skateboarding event going on so the park was strewn with sk8ter bois and goils.
My goal was to get close to the Unisphere and other left over structures from the 1964 fair and to see Panorama in Queens Museum. The Unisphere was spectacular with a fountain that full of people splashing around, Ignoring the signs in both English and Spanish not to do so.
I wandered around aimlessly (Anything to try to force myself to exercise) I saw the sad relic that is the former New York Pavilion. Unused, rusted and deteriorating to the point of sadness, It's hard to believe this registered landmark would be this neglected and rundown.
Another place from that era that has seen better days but still has a majesty to it is the "Terrace On The Park" a restaurant/banquet hall situated on a modernist pedestal. A great example of architecture of that optimistic era.
But the highlight of the trip was going into the Queens Museum and seeing "Panorama" at the Queens Museum of Art. It's a spectacular model of the whole city of New York. It's done at 1/1200 scale which means the Empire State Building is about a foot tall. There is a walkway that runs the parameter of the map. You can get views of all the boroughs including Staten Island, Though you're actually walking on top of it. It has all the bridges going in and out and really gives you a unique perspective of where familiar places are in relation to other places that are well known.
What was really fun that even an insignificant building like Sloane House (Where I spent 4 years in the dorms) was represented, It's the red building a little to the right of Madison Square Garden.
They do a good job of keeping things up to date replacing old buildings with new ones. I noticed at least two exceptions. One of course is the World Trade Center. I don't know what will happen when the new trade center opens up later this year but it's nice to still see it there. Another one was weird to me. Knowing that they updated buildings I looked to Yankee Stadium to see if it was the new one. Well, It looks like the old one with its 70s renovations intact with a small park at the location of the new one. I find this strange because on the Queens section, Shea Stadium is gone with Shea Field in its place. I guess they figured it would be noticeable that a building that is located a mere mile away in the very park the museum is located if is wasn't updated, Whereas New Yankee Stadium looks very similar to the old park especially at that scale and the location is more crowded.
Anyway, After I left the museum I hung out with my friend Jim at the place that used to be Googie's in the Village and we both went to the landmark McSorleys near St. Marks Place and took in the ancient school atmosphere.
Next up, My trip to High Point and a visit with my buddy Al.