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.
Lhota said “urban parks are a precious patrimony, and in the densest of American cities it is rarely wise to auction off greensward.” If the wealthy cannot be found to toss together a conservancy, “a mayor should find a way to pay for that park.” There is no ambiguity where Lhota stands.
Nor is there ambiguity where de Blasio stands. He said a “pro soccer stadium might raise the money needed to give that dowdy dowager of a park a facelift.” It is clear de Blasio as mayor will be no friend to FMCP. He is blind to the fact notwithstanding FMCP is one of the most used in our municipal park system primarily by the less privileged. It is also the dumping ground for non-urban park structures and the most abused.
In 1895, Frederick Law Olmstead, who created Central and Prospect parks and other parks elsewhere, said, “The survival of our park system requires the exclusion from its 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 has placed in their care.”
Olmstead’s remarks more than 100 years ago are more pertinent today.
©2013 Community News Group
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