From the Queens Chronicle:
Re “Pol: FMCP belongs to public, not politics,” July 7, multiple editions:
Parks are the lifeblood of congested urban societies. While Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the second-most used park in New York City, mostly by the underprivileged, it is also the most abused, pockmarked with all sorts of structures alien to legitimate public park use, that would never be permitted in Central Park or indeed in any other municipal park. Terrace on the Park; the Mets’ stadium and its parking lot; the USTA and its newly added, ugly dome; a previous attempt to construct a Grand Prix race track around Meadow Lake; an attempt to construct a soccer stadium; and a current attempt to build a huge mega shopping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which is parkland.
The culprits responsible for the above are former mayors, possibly current Mayor De Blasio, former borough presidents and most of all the vast majority of City Council members, all of whom have operated as if their constituents are the real estate moguls and not the little people. An example is the attempt for a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which included a raid on the city treasury and for all practical purposes the demise of the 2008 approved Willets Point redevelopment plan. The Council and its prime mover, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, negotiated and supported a plan that gave the developers property acquired by the city, for tens of millions of dollars, for $1; plus subsidies and tax abatements. To nail the coffin shut, the developers were given the right to walk away from any obligation to construct affordable housing by forfeiting $35 million, an amount that to them is akin to the tip one gives the youngster who delivers groceries. Walk away they will.
At long last there is a breath of fresh air in City Councilman Rory Lancman, who has sued the city and the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which he claims was formed to funnel money from for-profit entities in exchange for the use of park resources.
The time is long overdue for a full investigation into how and why FMCP has become the dumping ground for all sorts of illegitimate public park use. I am sure the public supports and thanks Lancman to let right be done.
Benjamin M. Haber