Cunningham Park Improvements – Fresh Meadows NY


“Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia dedicated the plaza in Cunningham’s memory near the center of the park in 1936. That year marked the completion of work by the Works Progress Administration and the Parks Department to develop the southern part of the park. The plan provided tennis courts, playgrounds, stables, bridle paths, playing fields, picnic groves, and parking lots. In the early 1950s the City of New York acquired land for a greenbelt of public parks along the route of the former railroad that ran from Flushing to Babylon. The Kissena Corridor links Flushing Meadows-Corona, Kissena, Alley Pond, and Cunningham Parks in a 2816-acre, 4.5-mile ’emerald necklace’ of parkland.”

Source notes

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on May 14, 2014.

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Location Info

Fresh Meadows, NY 11366

Coordinates: 40.729430, -73.775311

One comment on “Cunningham Park Improvements – Fresh Meadows NY

  1. Roy M Warner

    I grew up in Fresh Meadows on 199th St and 51st Ave in a new home that my parents bought in 1953. Being one block west of Francis Lewis Blvd. (which was Cross Island Blvd. until the Cross Island Parkway opened in 1939), we were within the Flushing 65 postal zone (the Zip Code – or Zone Improvement Plan – came into use in the late 60s, so the code became 11365. However, we had a Bayside telephone exchange and I attended PS 162 and JHS 74, both of which were in Bayside. The information about Cunningham Park left out that the old Vanderbilt Motor Parkway ran right through it. My friends and I would take our bikes on it all the way from Peck Ave near PS 179 to Winchester Blvd (Creedmor). I remember well when construction started on the LIE in 1957 and its opening in 1960, as well as the construction of the Clearview Expressway. Indeed, in 1953, when I was five years old, even I understood why all our neigbors were furious when an announcement was made that the expressway was to use the right of way of Francis Lewis Blvd, with the use of eminent domain to widen the right of way; our house was to be taken. When it was announced that the expressway was to use 204th St instead of Francis Lewis, the homeowners on my street were ecstatic. I also remember a US Army Reserve Center at the southeast corner of Francis Lewis and 73rd Ave, which eventually closed; the site was then used for baseball fields. Lastly, in 1958, which was during the construction of the LIE, “Penn Fruit” opened at the intersection of Hollis Court Blvd, Francis Lewis Blvd and Horace Harding Blvd (all of which were being reconstructed with the expressway construction). “Penn Fruit” was the largest supermarket at the time and was so immense that it became a local “tourist” destination. Eventually, the Blue Bay Diner opened in 1962 within a corner of the parking lot, which I think is still extant today in 2021. And as I’m writing this, I remember training and competing at Cross Country track at Cunningham Park when I was on the Francis Lewis HS team. The course was on the southside of Union Tpke west of Francis Lewis Blvd and nearby tennis courts.

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