I’ve been interested in seeing World’s Fair park for a while now. It is in Queens, which is easy to get to but still takes me over an hour and a half to get out there. The ride also includes me riding the G train from end to end. Yay. However, after finally getting out there, it was absolutely worth the trip and I can’t wait to go back. Especially because I hadn’t realized that Flushing Meadows Park, alone, is wonderful! Aside from the World’s Fair stuff, it’s a huge park with lots of fields, benches, and even mini golf.
World’s Fair Park
Entering the park from 111th st, you pass by the tennis center, then on to the actual park. The tennis courts are where the U.S. Open is played every year. As soon as you enter the actual park, you will see the Unisphere.
The Unisphere was the symbol of the 1964-65 World’s Fair and is still standing today. You can even see it from the express way. I had seen many photos of it before but it still was much larger than I had expected. An amazing structure.
It is surrounded by fountains and a line of reflecting pools leading up to it. Unfortunately these were not filled with water when I was there. I would love to go back to see it as it should be.
As far as remnants form the 1964 fair, there is the Unisphere, some other statues, a few plaques, the Queens Museum (formerly the NYC Building), and the rusting NY Pavillon.
NY State Pavillon
As soon as you enter the park, you will notice circular observation decks in the distance. These are part of the NY Pavillon. This structure is still standing but is no longer used. It’s essentially just sitting there rusting.
From the parks website:
The popular exhibit for the state of New York also held three towers, measuring 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet. The two shorter towers held cafeterias for the fair, and the tallest tower, as the highest point of the fair, held an observation deck. Fair visitors ascended the towers in the “Sky Streak” capsule elevators.
The entire area is fenced & locked off. It opens for special occasions but is generally closed off to the public. I am sure the towers would be deemed unsafe in their current condition.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The park itself was wonderful! If it were closer to my neighborhood I would go there more regularly. There are tons of grass and benches to sit and relax. Bring a book or snack. Or grab food from the various food carts and people watch. There are also a lot of soccer & baseball fields and tennis courts, so you will probably catch a game going on.
You can hang out near the World’s Fair statues or browse the park for greenery, trees, flowers, and a relaxed atmosphere. There is a lake and some gardens to the east side. But I didn’t make it out there. On the north end is the Queens Botanical Gardens. I have heard they are lovely! But will have to do that on a second trip.
The park is great for going alone or with a friend. There is plenty to keep yourself occupied with just by walking around and looking at the remaining structures. The park is huge and there are many quiet spots.
If you are there with a friend and are looking for a good activity, head to the mini golf course! It’s attached to the pitch n’ putt toward the north of the park.
A game of mini golf here is $9. Plus there’s a concession stand with $11 pitchers of amber bock. Or $4.25 bud light drafts. Why I’ve never had a beer & played mini golf before is beyond me. The course is actually decent (hills) and was a perfect length. It wasn’t too busy, but I can see it getting crowded as the summer goes on. There are lots of picnic tables near there too, so you can purchase a pitcher and just relax. I had no idea the course was there, so it was a very nice surprise!
I suggest looking at a map of the park if it will be your first time going. Because I didn’t know exactly where everything was, I ended up not being able to see the NY Hall of Science. I passed it accidentally and didn’t have time to back track. There is definitely enough to see and do for a second trip.
Citi Field & The Mets
Right next door to the park is Citi Field, home of The New York Mets. There is a walk-way and you get right to the stadium. The Willets Point-Mets 7 stop is right there as well. I’d definitely suggest timing it so you can get to a game.
The least expensive tickets are $15! At that price, you can get there mid-way and still get your money’s worth. The stadium is fairly new and is very nice. There are tons of food options and the prices are what you would expect at a stadium.
If you are going out to Flushing specifically to see a Mets game, I high recommend going early/staying later to walk through Flushing Meadow’s park. Since the two are connected, it is a short stroll to see the Unisphere and other structures. You can easily walk through and get to the next 7 station.
And besides the park and Citi Field, there is also the neighborhood of Flushing. One of NYC’s three Chinatowns. Definitely another good place to go for food or just to walk around after seeing a game.