1. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Corona Ash Dump. Photo from New York City Parks Photo Archive.

Before Flushing, Queens boasted Citi Field, the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, it was a dusty ash heap immortalized unfavorably in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In 1907, contractor Michael Degnon, who’s firmed worked on the Williamsburg Bridge and Steinway tunnels, had the idea to turn the land along Flushing Creek into a port at Flushing Bay.

To accomplish this, he started buying all kinds of refuse to fill in the wetlands. Chimney ashes, street sweepings, and dirt and rock from the expansion of Brooklyn’s subway system were brought to the area and dumped in the meadows. As the town of Corona started to build up by 1911, Degnon and the Brooklyn Ash Removal Company, had brought so much ash and debris to the area it became known as the Corona Ash Dump. In 1914 a mound of debris that accumulated into a 100-foot tall hill was dubbed “Mount Corona.”

The area would not be cleaned up until 1935 when Robert Moses and other powerful men took control of the meadows to turn it into a suitable site for the 1939 World’s Fair. The debris was redistributed and the 300-acres of the Corona Ash Dump were incorporated into what would become the nearly 900 acre Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Learn more about the history of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on our Tour of the Remnants of the Worlds Fairs!

Tour the Remnants of the World’s Fairs at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park