By Benjamin M. Haber
The TimesLedger editorial in its January 14-21, 2016 edition (“Parks, Not Profits), defending the integrity of of Flushing Meadows Corona Park as well as all urban parks in our municipal park system, is right on the mark and should be applauded by all who cherish parkland.
As to FMCP, at the hands of myopic city officials—elected, appointed or otherwise—and beginning with the discredited former Queens Borough President Donald Manes (now departed), it has become the dumping ground for all sorts of structures alien to an urban park, which would never be permitted in Central, Prospect or Bronx parks, nor should they be. Parks are the lifeblood of an urban society and must never be treated as real estate to be sold or bartered to the highest bidder. It is tax dollars that should be used to maintain public parks and while philanthropic contributions are welcome, they should never be on a quid quo pro basis.
FMCP is a legitimate member of our city’s municipal park system and there is nothing at all in the statutes that states this park is to be treated differently from that of other municipal parks. The claim that it is different was political nonsense claimed by Manes, who wanted the park to become another Meadowlands, and the little people who need and use the park be damned.
When City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland remains disappointed over the rejection of music festivals in the park and claims she will continue to work towards improving parks for everyday visitors and district residents, she is talking out of both sides of her mouth. Anyone who supports a 1.4-million-square-foot shopping mall on park property is no friend of parks.
Frederick Law Olmstead, who created Central and Prospect parks in this city and important parks elsewhere, wrote a letter to the City of Boston concerning Franklin Park in that city, which was one of his creations. In that letter he quoted John Ruskin:
“Let it not be for the present delight, nor for the
present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for,
and let us think…. that a time is to come when…. men (and women) will say
‘See, this our fathers did for us.’”
Descendants will not say thanks to Ferreras-Copeland or to any of the City Council fools who are totally ignorant about the necessity and preservation of urban parks.
Benjamin M. Haber