As mentioned in this guidebook, Flushing Meadows Corona
Park is the largest public space in Queens. It’s home to
countless forms of wildlife and cultural and recreational gems.
But it’s not alone. The borough has many beautiful public
spaces that offer serenity from the hustle-bustle of city life. The
following two lists provide more information. The first lists
green areas run by nonprofits. The second lists governmentadministered
ALLEY POND ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER
Alley Pond Park is more than 655 acres of trees, water marshes,
meadows, hills, and trails. It occupies part of a terminal moraine
that was formed by a glacier roughly 15,000 years ago, and
features kettle ponds formed by melting ice and natural springs.
In spring, pollen fills the air, and flowers bloom everywhere. In
summer, frogs and salamanders sun themselves on tree branches
and rocks in the ponds. In fall, birds of all feathers pass through.
And in winter, raccoon tracks can be found in the snow.
The Alley Pond Environment Center is a nonprofit that operates
a building where visitors can learn about the local wetlands and
trails as well as nature on the whole. The center is dedicated
to educating individuals about the environment, protecting
and preserving the park, open spaces, and bodies of water, and
advocating for sustainable environmental policies and practices.
Inside scoop: The Douglaston Estate Windmill is in Alley Pond
Park. Built around 1870, it pumped water to nearby farms. The
original windmill was converted into a two-room house in the
early 1900s, when the borough’s population spiked. But in 1985,
a group of local residents constructed a working replica that
pumps fresh water from the ground that the park uses.
Address: 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston, and www.
GATEWAY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Operated by the federal government, Gateway National
Recreation Area encompasses 11 parks in three regions. The
entire park covers more than 26,607 acres of land and straddles