Laughing Swan


Autumn is the most eventful time in the life of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The change of season comes in with September hurricanes, October and November nor'easters, and perhaps an early December snowstorm. The hardy geese don't seem to mind heavy weather, but a violent tempest can uproot dozens of delicate willow trees in one blow.

Meadow Lake in Late October

Autumn brings a slow steady kaleidoscope of color. Nature transforms the park in broad strokes and drab shades, changing the landscape by season's end from vibrant verdant greens to monotonous woody brown hues. The sky too at this time of year seems unwilling to be upstaged by the color cavalcade in progress below.

October Color Along Flushing River
September Sunset

Luring the Swans
Big Bird Comes On Land To Be Fed

The bringer of autumn is also busy manipulating the internal mechanisms of the park's many feathered denizens. While the biological clocks within these far ranging creatures is urging them up and away, a small recalcitrant coterie of willful slackers refuse to join the flocks daily departing for points further south. These birds will not leave their ardent admirers behind and move on. Flushing Meadows is their home.

Swan On Way Back To Water With A Mouthful

Model Airplane Flying

The world in miniature has always been a part of Flushing Meadows. The inventive models exhibited at the two New York World's Fairs that took place in this park were not merely reflections of innovative lifestyles, but the very impetus for the "World Of Tomorrow." The Queens Museum, which occupies a building that served as a centerpiece in both World Fairs, has on permanent display a much lauded exact replica of New York City. In the quietude of autumn, as the summertime crowds recede and the park lanes are vacated, the whirring of miniature motors fills the air, and the model makers again find their way to this Mecca of the imagination.

Meadow Lake Commodores

Skateboarding Under The Unisphere

Autumn means the start of a new school year, and a return to after school activities. As the days grow ever shorter in this season, the spotlights that illuminate the Unisphere after dark draw the skateboarders and roller-skaters to the base of the Unisphere like moths to the flame.

Skateboarding and Roller-skating  Under The Unisphere

Old Willow Tree With 30 Foot Tendrils Forms A Great Natural Cathedral In September
December And The Great Cathedral Has Vanished Along With The Autumn Season
Young Willow Trees Planted Like Corn Along West Bank Of Willow Lake-October Photo
Young Willow Trees Planted Like Corn Along West Bank Of Willow Lake Recede Around Curve In Backround-December Photo

The graceful curves of cultivated weeping willow trees give stunning panache to the Meadow Lake landscape. Hundreds of world's fair pavilions have given way to these deciduous natives of China. Autumn is the defining time of their life and death cycle.

Willow Tree Has Sumptuous Green September Coat
Willow Tree In Brown Threadbare Winter Attire

Willow Tree Rooted In Spongy Soil
Willow Trees Are Top-Heavy
Old Willow Tree Succumbs To Elements - The Root Ball Is In The Right Foreground
Willow Tree Stands on Flooded Lawn
Long Catkins Act Like Sails
Uprooted Willow Tree

Willow trees are unique in that they can be propagated from stem cuttings, which most trees cannot. They are rapid growing and short lived (from about 30 to 60 years of age) which makes them very susceptible to disease and insects. While they thrive in lowland swampy conditions - which describes Meadow Lake, they have shallow root systems, leaving them volatile in strong winds. The park's exquisite Maytime does not just happen spontaneously, it is reclaimed annually from the extremes of autumn. The civilized tranquillity of Meadow Lake is due in no small measure to the dedicated interventions of Flushing Meadows' skilled gardeners, who constantly wrest the landscape from the ravages of time and tempest.

Swampy Conditions
Extensive Lowland Flooding
Willow Tree Blown Over