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Queens Chronicle

FMC Park denied landmark status

State Sen. Avella asks commission to reconsider decision; hold hearing

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:52 am, Thu Aug 1, 2013.

The city’s Landmark Preservation Commission denied a proposal by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) to designate Flushing Meadows Corona Park as a historical site.

Now he’s asking for a do-over.

Last Friday morning Avella, while standing in the park with three borough preservation activists, called on the commission to reconsider its decision and hold a public hearing about the issue.

“At the very least, the residents of Queens deserve to have their voice heard,” said Avella, a borough president candidate.

The senator pointed out that the 900-acre park hosted three historical events as reasons for the designation — two World Fairs in 1939 and 1964 and the general assembly of the United Nations from 1946 to 1950.

Additionally the Unisphere, a relic from the 1964 Word Fair, located near the Queens Museum of Art in the park, is landmarked.

The LPC denied the proposal, which Avella submitted last month, “because its design lacks cohesiveness and it’s been changed over time,” said LPC spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon.

Additionally, the commission said the park was not a typical example of the park’s designer, landscape architect and engineer Gilmore Clarke.

Avella would also like to see the designation made to prevent future developments in the park. Developers are eyeing the Mets’ parking lot, which is technically part of the park, as a location for a new mall. Additionally, the United States Tennis Association is looking to expand its footprint in the park by .68 acre and there were talks that Major League Soccer wanted a piece of the park for a stadium, but it seems the league has jumped borough borders to the Bronx.

“The park has become a dumping ground for projects” said Paul Graziano, urban planning consultant and City Council Democratic candidate running for the seat occupied by Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).

If designated all development proposals would be reviewed by the LPC before being acted on.

Queens places in the middle of the five boroughs — Brooklyn and Manhattan above and Staten Island and the Bronx below— in number of landmarked properties, according to the LPC. More than half of Queens designations were made in the last 11 years.

The 843-acre Central Park and the 583-acre Prospect Park both are designated by the city as a scenic landmark, which requires the land be a public park.

There are 10 of these in the city — all in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In 2008 Morningside Park became a scenic landmark, the most recent of the bunch.

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