Words by Roshani Thakore/Photos by Juanita Lara.
As part of the residency with the Queens Museum, Queens Creative Solidarity highlighted the importance of free and equal access to a historical space in New York City: Flushing Meadows Corona Park. As a shared community resource which has been vulnerable to private interests in recent years, the park is an example of how a public park space is vital to the health and vibrancy of the diverse communities and families in New York City.
QCS engaged with park-goers, got their input and perspectives about the park, and involved them in creating a film and zine to share the collective community perspective about Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Local community members, tourists, parents, children, friends and many others voiced their concerns about the impact privatization and limited access would have on their lives.
In the making of the video “Flushing Meadows Corona Park: What It’s Worth” the QCS video team interviewed dozens of park goers who talked about what the park means to them, what makes this particular public space so special, and their concerns about the park’s future. The video highlights the extremely diverse voices and experiences of these park-goers and represents a snap shot of how free and equal access to city parks impacts hundreds of lives every day.
The QCS zine team hosted two drop-in workshops to engage park-goers and have them design pages of the zine, “Flushing Meadows Corona Park: What It’s Worth.” Using a survey QCS created, the zine team interviewed workshop participants about their experiences and perspectives about the park and invited them to help design and produce the zine using their own content. Through drawings, text and poetry, participants shared how valuable the park is to them and how changes to accessing the park impacts them. In addition to the rich and vital content by participants, the zine also includes information about local community participation, the recent developments of FMCP including the Alliance of FMCP and the Community Advisory Board, along with information of local organizations invested in Queens community members. At the QCS closing event, each participant received a digital and hard copy of the zine, and QCS has published additional copies to give to Queens community organizations to use and distribute.
Reach out to QCS to learn more about the video, zine, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and how you can get involved.