December, 2013


Soccer officials talk to Bronx on stadium

Major League Soccer seems to have dropped its bid to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and has set its sights on the Bronx. Comments (3)
College Point

City announces restoration for MacNeil Park esplanade

The city Parks Department has declared MacNeil Park, which was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, due for a $2.4 million face-lift. Comment

City OKs Bowne House center plan

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a $2.8 million plan to build a visitor’s center for Flushing’s historic John Bowne House in late November. Comment

USTA announces beginning of expansion into green space

The United States Tennis Association announced the first phase of a $500 million plan to renovate the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to the Queens Borough Board Monday night. Comment
Long Island City

Volunteers at Shady Park replant their beloved trees

The trees have returned to Shady Park in Long Island City. Comment

November, 2013


Vallone pushes for ice rink to be made in Astoria pool

Term limited City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) wants a skating rink in Astoria Park. Comment

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De Blasio won’t befriend parks

In a mayoral debate Oct. 22 between candidates Democratic city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Republican Joseph Lhota, a question came up concerning a professional soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comments (5)

October, 2013


Forest Park Carousel spins its way onto Landmarks list

The century-old Forest Park carousel in Forest Park continues to spin, but it now bears a new plaque signifying its special landmark status. Comments (2)

Ridgewood Reservoir transformed into nature preserve

Although the Ridgewood Reservoir reopened last month, the city Parks Department joined community leaders to mark its opening this week with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Comment
Jackson Heights

Dromm delivers $500K for Jax Hgts Diversity Plaza

Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza will soon be sporting new benches, improved lighting and location maps thanks to $500,000 in funding from City Councilman Daniel Dromm’s (D-Sunnyside) discretionary fund. Comment
Ozone Park

QueensWay incites controversy

The friction mounting between two groups over a proposal to transform a piece of old railway line into a public park came to a head on Tuesday over a disagreement about who had actually been invited to a meeting to discuss the park plans. Comments (6)

September, 2013


Parks reopens Ridgewood Reservoir

The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is open now that Phase 1 construction at the site has been completed. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

Jax Heights field renamed for boy who died from sepsis

Rory Staunton fought hard for his Jackson Heights community throughout his 12 short years before his untimely death from sepsis shock last year. His community fought just as hard to make sure his name would be never be forgotten. Comment

City tennis permits drop as cost doubles

After the conclusion of the US Open two weeks ago, interest in tennis is at its peak in New York City and especially in Queens, within the shadow of the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center, where the tournament took place. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

Jax Heights field to be named for 12-year-old boy who died from sepsis

A sports field used by the Garden School in Jackson Heights will be named in memory of a 12-year-old sepsis victim, who was once a student there. Comment

USTA plan clears last hurtle

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last Friday officially leasing about two-thirds of an acre of Flushing Meadows Corona Park to the United States Tennis Association to accommodate renovations at the US Open site. Comment

Parks restores Doug pathway to waterfront

The path to Little Neck Bay has been made a little bit easier for residents living along the water in Douglaston, thanks to the neighborhood civic group and elected officials. Comment

August, 2013

Long Island City

Park opens in Hunters Point South

Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened a new waterfront park in Long Island City Wednesday two days after City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced the allocation of $2.5 million for the restoration of Queensbridge Park. Comment

Bayside park construction stalled by city: Activist

Construction at Little Bay Park has been ongoing, the city Parks Department said, but one northeast Queens activist has been keeping a close watch on the progress and said he has not seen enough. Comment

CB 11 calls on city to preserve Udalls

A preservation group from Douglaston called on the city to acquire the last few remaining privately owned lots in Udalls Cove Park before they are sold and possibly developed. Comment
Forest Hills

Study of QueensWay proposal to begin by September

Two New York design firms have been chosen to conduct a feasibility study for the QueensWay, a proposed project that would transform 3 1/2 miles of an abandoned railway into a linear park, the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay announced Tuesday. Comments (1)

Stroll in park becomes hassle

It appears that the city Parks Department has not only neglected Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which has been reported to two commissioners for decades, but it is neglecting to accommodate the people trying to get into and use Fort Totten Park. Comment

USTA to build retractable roof over Arthur Ashe

The United States Tennis Association will install a retractable roof over its main stadium to curb Mother Nature’s influence over the US Open, officials announced this week. Comment

Parks Has a Problem with Trees

The death of a young pregnant woman who was crushed by a giant oak that toppled onto the bench where she was sitting in Kissena Park Sunday might have been avoided. The city Parks Department has been under pressure from legislators in Queens in recent years to accelerate its inspection and maintenance of borough trees. Comments (1)

Officials pledge to oversee old Flushing burial ground

City officials have vowed to keep a closer eye on the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground after the leader of its conservancy spoke out against the area’s neglect. Comments (1)

Woodhaven residents oppose Queens ‘High Line’

Much of the debate surrounding the proposed QueensWay has been framed as an either-or issue: reactivate train service along the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail route or redevelop it into parkland, similar to Manhattan’s High Line. Comments (14)

July, 2013


Parks crews restore sacred Flushing site

An abundance of overgrown weeds and vegetation at the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground were the end result of a city Parks Department staff changeover and equipment malfunction that have since been corrected, a spokesman said. Comment

Bayside Marina bouncing back after Sandy

It will take more than a prayer to keep the Bayside Marina afloat, the owners said. Comment

Three Ridgewood Reservoir blueprints unveiled

Three new concept plans that may help determine the future of the Ridgewood Reservoir were unveiled last month. Comment

Avella bill aims to chill parkland development

A new state bill would force private companies that set up shop on parkland to replace the greenspace somewhere else at three times the size, which could make Flushing Meadows Corona Park less enticing for development projects. Comments (1)

Top Cop kicks off cricket

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly tossed the coin to kick off the 2013 event at Flushing Meadows Corona Park June 27, which he said will contribute to building stronger relationships between the community and law enforcement. This year more than 100 youngsters aged 14-19 will compete on 12 teams for the title. Comment

June, 2013

Long Island City

LIC’s Andrews Grove finally gets face-lift

Several months after the devastation and havoc unleashed by Hurricane Sandy tore up parts of the borough, repair efforts are finally under way to fully restore Andrews Grove in Long Island City. Comment

Con Ed must carefully prune trees

The tree manglers hired by Con Edison to “trim” trees near overhead power lines have struck again. Trees are being mutilated and disfigured by the manglers cutting the centers out of trees or taking off the branches on one side of certain trees. Comments (1)

Parks hearing studies Flushing Mdws funds

The city Parks Department revealed how much money goes into Flushing Meadows Corona Park at a hearing last week, although the answers did little to shed light on how the borough’s greenspace is treated in comparison to others in the city. Comment

Ft. Totten pool needs city funds to open in June

Residents of northeast Queens were hot with rage after learning they might lose their own free public pool unless the City Council can find the funding to keep it afloat. Comment

Queens Tomorrow: Rush is on for Queens parkland

The most high-profile development projects in the borough are happening in one of the most unlikely of places: Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comments (1)

Fort Totten pool may close: Parks

Four city pools, including one at Fort Totten in Bayside, might be closed this year unless the City Council can find the funds to keep them afloat, the Parks Department said. Comments (2)

Carousel and amusement area open in Flushing Meadows

The Flushing Meadows Corona Park Carousel opened for the summer season last week in tandem with the opening of the new Fantasy Forest Amusement Area, which is operated by NY Carousel Entertainment and has four rides, including Queens’ only roller coaster. Comment

May, 2013


Expand tennis stadium for pupils

The United States Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is our home court, and for the players on our men’s and women’s teams there is no greater thrill than playing on the same courts where the top tennis stars compete in the renowned US Open every summer. Comment

Soccer stadium to steal people’s park

A Major Soccer League stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park — for the benefit of a private, for-profit business and seating up to 25,000 people with a potential expansion to 35,000 — is another nail in the coffin of destruction that has been and is being perpetrated on the second most-used park in New York City, primarily by the less privileged. Comment
The Civic Scene

Flushing Meadows development will do more harm than good

Officers and board members of the Kissena Park Civic Association recently testified at Community Board 7 about issues concerning the civic. Zoning Committee Chairman Joe Amoroso explained in the civic’s March 2013 newsletter what is of concern. Comments (1)

Forest Park Carousel set to spin for Landmarks

Anyone taking a spin on a recently refurbished carousel in Woodhaven might soon be doing so on an official city landmark. Comment

USTA land deal panned by critics

The United States Tennis Association trumpeted a pledge this week to replace double the parkland it wants to take as part of its expansion, but critics called the swap disingenuous since the land is already used by the public. Comment

Sheik’s soccer stadium plan draws pols’ ire

Some Queens lawmakers were not happy after hearing that a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family will soon announce his plan to fund a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comments (2)

April, 2013


Do your part to maintain quality of parks

Regarding your April 5-11 article “Parks needs to better care for trees,” we need to take care of our trees for many reasons and need to hire more staff. Comment

Community weighs Flushing Meadows’ future

Residents flocked to Flushing Meadows Corona Park Monday night to attend a community planning session for the greenspace and listen to a lawmaker’s vision of how it should be taken care of in the future. Comment

Group rallies against Tennis Center expansion

Park advocates have no love for a proposed tennis center expansion in Flushing. Comment

City refurbishes fields on MLS site

The city is pumping money into the reconstruction of two Flushing Meadows Corona Park soccer fields that lie in the footprint of a 25,000-seat stadium proposed by Major League Soccer, raising questions about the future of the professional sports arena. Comments (2)
The Civic Scene

Flushing Meadows should not undergo development

The Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella organization of approximately 100 civic associations in Queens, has gone on record opposing further development of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comment

30-year wait for Flushing toilet over

Flushing activist John Byas spent more than a third of his 79-year-old life hounding elected officials to build a toilet in Kissena Corridor Park — and Friday he stood in front of the newly opened commode to announce his quest had finally come to an end. Comment

Parks needs to better care for trees

As we approach spring and summer, it is important for the city Parks Department’s Forestry Division to maintain the thousands of trees that line streets and that are in our parks and playgrounds. Comments (2)

USTA plan will benefit boro park

Regarding the March 22-28 letter to the editor “Parkland should remain haven for people, not business,” we are confident that in partnership with the local Queens community boards and elected officials we will ensure a better Flushing Meadows Corona Park and United States Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Comment

March, 2013


Parkland should remain haven for people, not business

In describing Flushing Meadows Corona Park as not being a “traditional park,” TimesLedger Newspapers is off the mark in its March 1-7 editorial “Show Us the Money.” Comment
Long Island City

LIC millstone damaged in Queens Plaza setting

The Queens Plaza millstones seemed to have found a permanent home in the new Dutch Kills Green, but Greater Astoria Historical Society Executive Director Bob Singleton said one of the stones has been damaged and the pair should be in a safer place. Comment

Feds keep watch over Flushing Meadows

Unlike most parks in the city, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is subject to federal regulations that govern development more stringently than the state, although its oversight would apply to each of the three proposed projects in a different way. Comment

Pols must stand up for Flushing Meadows, not big biz

What happened to the New Yorkers I have known and loved? Comments (3)
Breezy Point

Volunteers needed for Jamaica Bay cleanup

A group that strives to help veterans get back into the workforce is turning its attention toward revitalizing the city’s storm damaged shore. Comment

CB 7 should vote no on USTA

Community Board 7 is entitled to whatever information and conditions it deems necessary to aid it in making a decision on the United States Tennis Association’s current application that involves a significant structural expansion of its facilities in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (“CB 7 wants more info on USTA expansion,” TimesLedger Newspapers Feb. 22-28, 2013). Comments (1)

Parks to hire 81 new officers

A firm advocate of increased policing, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) applauded the city Parks Department’s hiring of more parks enforcement patrol officers come the 2014 fiscal year. Comment
Rockaway Park

Bike and boat stations planned for Jamaica Bay

Another wave of revitalization is coming to the Rockaways as the city and federal government seek proposals to install new amenities for visitors and residents of the seaside land. Comment

USTA plan gets off to a shaky start at CBs

Community boards voted this week on the United States Tennis Center’s proposal to expand its footprint in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and attempted to put their mark on the possible end result, while a lawmaker with legislative power has demanded the lost parkland be replaced. Comments (1)

Queens women celebrate Title IX effect on sports

Girls and women from city Parks Department recreation centers across the borough gathered in Flushing over the weekend to celebrate 40-plus years of Title IX, the federal legislation prohibiting discrimination in sports based on gender. Comment

Alley Pond meadows makes one appreciate nature

Standing in the white powdery cover of Alley Pond’s meadow alone, something moves me to savor the ability to observe distant patterns of angry steel-gray clouds touching a plaster-sculpted earth. This life sustainer with its own pattern of land and water is seemingly suspended in time by the winter’s severity. Comments (1)

The Purpose of Flushing Meadows

Ever since March 12, 1733, when Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan became the first official park in New York City, parks have played an important role in a city which has seen its greenspace disappear. Comments (1)

Do not build stadiums in parks

I support reader Benjamin Haber’s letter to the editor “Enjoy Parks for Open Spaces, Not Sports Stadiums.” Comment

CB 7 vote may hinge on cash

Community Board 7 named its price for approving the expansion of the United States Tennis Association’s facility in Flushing Meadows Corona Park Monday night. Comment
Rockaway Beach

Parks reveals new images in Rockaway Beach fixup

Rockaway residents got their first view of what a post-Hurricane Sandy beachfront could look like when the city Parks Department presented renderings at a community meeting at Beach Channel High School last week. Comments (1)

City reveals renderings of planned performing arts center

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and Community Board 1 unveiled the schematic designs last week for an outdoor performing arts space to be built where the diving pool once stood in Astoria Park. Comment

February, 2013

Jackson Heights

Garden School play space now officially a city park

After years of negotiation, fund-raising and a near-loss of the land forever, the city Parks Department said its acquisition of the private Garden School’s playground in Jackson Heights is complete. Comment

CB 7 wants more info on USTA expansion

Community Board 7 tabled a vote last week on whether to approve the proposed expansion of the United States Tennis Association’s facility in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, citing the need for more information, including how much money the association is willing to pump into improvements within the greenspace. Comment

Enjoy parks for open spaces, not sports stadiums

Major League Soccer’s Madison Avenue advertising that its proposed stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will be a business boon for Queens is like everything it has been claiming: nonsense and without any credibility (“MLS sees stadium plan biz boon for Queens,” Jan. 25-31). Comments (1)

City should check tree stability

One of the destructive results of Hurricane Sandy was the destruction of trees throughout the city. Comment

Tip of the week

January, 2013


Only Avella understands importance of parkland

In 1895, Frederick Law Olmstead, the genius who created Central and Prospect parks, said, “The survival of our park system requires the exclusion from management of real estate dealers and politicians and that the first duty of our park trustees is to hand down from one generation to the next the treasure of scenery which the city placed in their care.” Comments (1)

Parks plans to replace Porta Potties at Little Bay Park

Residents of northeast Queens took some comfort in hearing that one long-awaited project at Little Bay Park would be moving forward soon. Comment
Forest Hills

Group gets grant to study Rockaway line land

A group hoping to transform a long-dormant rail line into a public greenway will try to get science on their side after receiving a state grant to conduct a feasibility study. Comments (1)
On Point

Columnist wants to see better management of city trees in 2013

As I look forward to the new year, below is one civic leader’s Top 10 wish list for 2013. Comment

City must overhaul tree maintenance

I am writing once again to highlight the failure of the city and the city Parks Department to properly maintain city trees. Comment

Estelle Cooper dies amid legal troubles

When former Assistant Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper died Saturday, she left behind a history of public service in Queens clouded by legal troubles associated with her tenure as head of a nonprofit that funded upkeep at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comments (3)

December, 2012


Former Assistant Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper dies

A funeral was held Monday for former Assistant Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper. The Whitestone resident had been scheduled to appear in court in February as part of a criminal court case, charging that she allegedly stole funds from the nonprofit she once headed. On Monday afternoon, Cooper’s family was set to release a statement about her death, according to a representative of Sinai Chapels in Fresh Meadows, where the funeral was held. Comments (2)
CNG: Community Newspaper Group