Flushing Meadows Corona Park will soon be home to a new skate park that blends together distinctive urban elements from locations throughout the city, officials said.
The 16,000-square-foot facility will be built atop the derelict Astral Fountain left over from the 1964 World’s Fair with money provided by the Maloof Money Cup, a skateboarding competition organized by the California family that owns the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.
“We at Parks are thrilled to have this unbelievable facility,” city Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said in a statement. “The Maloof Money Cup at Flushing Meadows Corona Park this June is a first for New York City and our Adopt-a-Park program.”
Construction was slated to begin this month. The skateboarding competition starts June 5 with a $100,000 prize for the winner. The completed skate park will replicate rails and stairs from locations like Union Square, Police Plaza, a now-closed curved concrete space under the Brooklyn Bridge and even the ledge and curvature of the Unisphere fountain pool.
The project has already gotten the go-ahead from Community Board 4 and the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy.
“I wouldn’t say I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm, but I did not see anything wrong with it,” said Pat Dolan, chairwoman of the conservancy. “We felt the proposal was something that was certainly compatible with the park, because the thing they were proposing to build will be free and open to the public. And they’re proposing to use ... that derelict fountain, which the Parks Department has neither the intention nor the means to rehabilitate.”
Not everyone was overjoyed with the plan, however. Greg Godfrey, president of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park World’s Fair Association, attacked the plan for destroying a piece of history.
All that remains of the Astral Fountain, which once included a towering, lattice-like cage around its water plumes, is a ring of nozzles in the middle of the concrete foundation. The last listed Parks Department inspection, in December 2009, found all elements of the structure were acceptable except for its paved surfaces.
The skating competition in June will be the first hosted by the Maloof Money Cup in the city. Previous events have been held in California. Pro skaters Chris Cole and Geoff Rowley, New York skateboarder Steve Rodriguez and Joe Ciaglia, president of California Skateparks, led the design of the street course, competition organizers said.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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