Re “Legacies abound from World’s Fair” (June 12, multiple editions):
The fair did not fulfill Robert Moses’ promise that the event would result in developing “Flushing Meadows as a great urban park.”
Central, Prospect and Bronx parks are great urban parks. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is in fact the antithesis of an urban park, replete all sorts of alien structures that would not and should not be allowed in parks that are the lifeblood of an urban society starved for use of open and passive space.
That investors whose money built the 1964 Fair received back 19.2 cents on the dollar, were deprived out of additional monies — allegedly by Mr. Moses, who it is said hid $1.5 million in assets ostensibly for park improvements — casts not only a shadow on his reputation, but credibility on any claim there were in fact park improvements. FMCP was and remains the most neglected of any major municipal park, underfunded and treated not as a park, but real estate up for grabs by business and real estate interests, courtesy of myopic politicians who have difficulty remembering who their true constituents are.
These myopic politicians, nay Neanderthals, have approved allowing the multibillionaire companies Related and Sterling Equities, affiliated with the Wilpons, owners of the Mets ball club, to construct a 1.4-million-square-foot shopping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which is in fact on FMCP land — something that would cause even Robert Moses to turn over in his grave. This lack of responsible government is currently the subject of litigation.
While there may be merit in remembering some innovative aspects of particular exhibits at the 1964 Fair, in the absence of creating a true legacy, “a great urban park,” there is in my opinion little cause for celebration.