Over the long July 4th weekend the Mets were playing my hometown Reds so we thought we'd head up to Flushing Meadows and explore before checking out the game that night.
Flushing Meadows has a long history and a ton of activities inside!
First up, the Queens Zoo. This zoo is a lot like Central Park and Prospect Park Zoo, with several exhibits set up in a ring around a sea lion pit. The zoo was small but fun. The focus is on animals from the Americas. There is also an aviary inside a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome. The structure was originally part of the 64 World's Fair (more on that later).
Flushing Meadows has been home to 2 World's Fairs in 1939 and 1964 and there are still remnants of both events. The Queens Museum of Art is housed in a building from the 1939 World's Fair. Though the building was closed when we were there, it is worth checking out. It fits our budget ($5 suggested donation) and houses temporary and permanent exhibits including the New York City Panorama. The Panorama is a model of the city, originally built for the 1964 world's fair and it includes EVERY building in the city built before 1992, at 9,335 sq ft and with 895,000 individual structures (and airplanes!) it is absolutely worth the trip.
The 1964 World's Fair introduced us to Tomorrowland (presented by GM) helping pave the way (heh heh) for the automobile domination of much of the country. But transportation planning philosophies aside, the 64 world's fair also gave us the Unisphere!
The fountain has been out of use for awhile but that should change soon with the restoration project currently underway.
Unfortunatly, another relic from the 64 World's Fair has not aged as well...
It seems like every world's fair has a signature overlook tower. Seattle has the Space Needle, San Antonio has the Tower of the America's, and Knoxville has the Sunsphere. New York has 3 towers, all built as part of the New York State Pavilion. While I believe the other towers mentioned are all currently servicing tourists, the New York State Pavilion looks like this:
Which I mean looks kinda cool, but in the worst sort of way. I think the city is supposed to be fixing it up but I don't think there is a time table.
After wandering around the park, we thought we might try the Queens Botanical Garden, which was started for the 1939 World's Fair and moved for the 1964 World's Fair. After a long walk under some highways and across a pedestrian bridge we found this:
Looks pretty closed huh? We thought so too. Upon further review of the garden map, it turns out that this is the "Meadow" section of the park and the entrance is on the opposite side. Someone needs to work on signage around this place. If you want to try your luck the admission price shouldn't break your small wallet ($4, $2 for students). If you've been there in the past you should note the new admission price since this is the first season they've charged. During less "green" seasons you can still get in free.
So after a long day exploring Flushing Meadows we headed over to Citi Field. On a holiday weekend, with the first place Reds in town, there weren't a lot of available tickets on resale sites (Stubhub, etc) and the scalpers weren't really in the mood to do business with me and my cheapness. We resigned to buy the cheapest seats in the house:
And then move down to here:
And then we watched the Reds win with help from a controversial call that pissed off all the Mets fans! Fun times in Queens!