Developers have been eyeing Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for a long time. They were hoping to put a big mall on a portion of its land.
The motion to add a mall has been struck down in court for now. See this story on CBS Local to learn more. The CBS story mostly seems to present an anti-mall point of view. There is also a story in The New York Times if you want a pro-mall discussion to help balance you out. I think it’s really important to understand both sides of the issue. It’s easy to react out of sheer emotion when things like this come up.
Most of the battle was over the 31 acre parking lot outside of City Field. The big issue was—and is—whether or not it’s a good idea to give a big swath of public land to developers. On the other hand, one might question whether a 31 acre sweltering eyesore of a parking lot is doing anyone any good either, given the fact that nobody really uses the thing. I would think you’d at least want to sell it to the developers.
Would the construction of a mall on that space be a good thing or a bad thing? Hard to say. On one hand, the mall could bring additional jobs. There was talk of adding some affordable housing, too. On the other hand, today it’s a parking lot…tomorrow it could be some far more important parcel of public land. And there’s the issue of whether or not a mall would bring a bunch of traffic, congestion, and noise that would make the park harder to enjoy.
The developers are planning appealing the decision, so we shall see how it goes. A local state legislator has to approve it.
Either way, most of the park would remain untouched, so it’s not like they’re talking about bulldozing the whole thing. The presence of the mall would not, theoretically, keep anyone from renting a boat, enjoying the rec center or visiting the science museum in the park the movie Men in Black made famous.
Our Forest Hills office is very close to all of this action however. We’re just a few blocks away from Flushing Meadows. Sometimes I even like to slip over there and eat my lunch in the shade. As a result, I’ll be continuing to watch this dispute with great interest. You can read an in-depth analysis of some of the issues (with a decidedly anti-development stance) at the website: Save Flushing Corona Meadows Park.