Planning of Flushing’s municipal parking lot

For many years civic and business organizations had sought to have a municipal parking lot developed in overcrowded downtown Flushing to serve the shopping public. The proposal for the Flushing public parking field was announced on June 8, 1948 at the annual dinner of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce at the North Hill Golf Club by construction coordinator Robert Moses with aplan for slum elimination in the area.

In the photo, the RKO Keith’s Theatre is in the upper left corner. Condemned property is to the right. The five-acre site was to be acquired by the New York City Housing Authority by way of eminent domain as part of its slum clearance program for the James A. Bland Houses. After the dilapidated buildings were razed, a portion of the land was transferred to the city for parking purposes operated by the new Department of Traffic.

Construction was located at Union Street between 37th and 39th avenues to accommodate 780 cars. Cars were parked against six islands each six feet wide and 410 to 500 feet long. There were 464 parking meters installed to control use of the field and create revenue. Parking meters were still in its infancy stage in Queens at that time.

A large groundbreaking ceremony for the parking field with Moses and Mayor Vincent Impellitteri on hand took place on June 3, 1953. A larger official opening of the Flushing parking field took place on April 27, 1954 with Moses and newly elected Mayor Robert Wagner.

Today, the parking field has been expanded and improved many times.It is the site for the proposed Flushing Commons mixed-use development. Underground parking will be provided.

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