City to build a ‘mist garden’ in FMCP 1

The city plans on transforming the reflecting pool by the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park into a mist garden. According to the Parks Department, the project is now in the procurement phase.

Get ready for Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s empty reflecting pool to have a misty new look.

The city is moving ahead with a reconstruction project for the World’s Fair pool, which would turn it into a “mist garden.”

“Specialized mist and fog jets will create an ephemeral, cooling cloud that will generally rise between 3 and 5 feet above the surface, providing relief for visitors on hot days,” Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor emailed the Chronicle. “The area will be completed with an art deco paving pattern to reflect the World’s Fair, as well as new seating and lights.”

When the design for the mist garden was made, Lalor added, input from the community given at public visioning sessions in 2015 and 2016 was considered.

The reflecting pool transformation is part of a larger master plan that includes repurposing the Fountain of the Planets Plaza, the Large Fountain and the Center Fountain. The latter two lie between the reflecting pool and the Fountain of the Planets.

Mayor de Blasio has allocated $5.23 million to the mist garden project. According to the Parks Department, the agency does not yet have money for the other components of the project, or any timelines for when construction will start on them.

The mist garden project is now in the procurement period, which is expected to end in the fall, according to Lalor. Construction should start then.

Architecture firm Quennell Rothschild & Partners made the master plan that the mist garden project is in.

According to the company, the reflecting pool transformation will also include new tree plantings and plants. The trees are expected to “decrease the urban heat island effect,” enhance air quality and make more shade.

“New plants were selected to withstand urban conditions, and primarily native plants were selected to increase species diversity and provide habitats for birds and beneficial insects,” the architecture firm explained.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy President Jean Silva is pleased

“The park is finally getting the due attention that it’s needed for many years,” she said.

Silva pointed out that kids sometimes play in the water below the Unisphere.

“Hopefully, the mist garden will get them out of the Unisphere,” she said, adding that the pressure from the landmark’s fountains are dangerous for the kids who play there.

The conservancy president wants the public to reach out to her group or the Parks Department if they have any ideas about how Flushing Meadows can be improved. Anyone with ideas can send an email to Silva at jeanfmcpc@gmail.com.

Although the Parks Department only has funding for the mist garden project, plans for the designs of the other parts of the master plan have been made.

According to the architecture firm, the Center Fountain’s revamp would have “tiered edges” and would serve as a theater space where people could also relax.

“The Large Fountain will be transformed into a large interactive water play environment, designed for kids of all ages,” Quennell Rothschild & Partners said in a statement. “Spray jets along the edges will reference the arching lines of jets that lined this pool during the 1964 World’s Fair.”

After the Fountain of the Planets plaza gets its makeover, it will become a “flexible outdoor room,” the architecture firm said. There will be portable chairs and tables, a place for vendors and food carts, as well as “large planted areas” that “will create a more pedestrian-scaled space with less pavement and more shade.”

The master plan also aims to redesign space around the Rocket Thrower statue garden in Flushing Meadows.

Stairs would link the garden to the Center Fountain, and paths for pedestrians would be added to the north and south sides of the location.

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