Ah, Flushing Meadows. Whether you recognize it from the Great Gatsby (“This is a valley of ashes”), the 1939 World’s Fair, the 1964 World’s Fair, or 1997’s Men in Black, to experience this park is to begrudgingly acknowledge just how old you’ve become.
Still, as far as biking is concerned, there’s no denying the fact that the Corona Park loop is one of the quintessential Queens cycling experiences, tying in the exhibition center’s rich history with a healthy mix of on and off-street riding through New York’s easternmost borough.
Not to mention a few easily appreciable natural vistas as well.
To help you get the most out of this unique tour, Spinlister has mapped out our preferred bike-friendly route below, giving you 10 glorious miles (longer if you opt to add on the Vanderbilt Parkway) to explore Queens at your own pace.
Take a few minutes to get acquainted with the ride, then button up those black suits and get exploring.
FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK
Outside of the Eiffel Tower, there may be no more widely recognized symbol of the World’s Fair than the towering Unisphere globe and its neighboring New York State Pavilion. And yes, they make an undeniably cool backdrop for that obligatory “Cycling in New York” Instagram shot.
Both iconic structures were built for the 1964 exposition: 40 years after F. Scott Fitzgerald penned his renowned passage on destitution, 25 years after the previous World’s Fair froze Einstein’s hand-written letters in time, and a mere 19 years after the end of WWII.
Aside from its historical significance, however, Flushing Meadows Corona Park also happens to be the single largest public green space in Queens. At 897 acres (363 hectares), there’s plenty to explore including lakes, gardens, sports fields, and the 43 ft-tall “Rocket Thrower” by American sculptor Donald DeLue.
Time your ride right and you might even catch a Mets game at Citi Field, if that kind of thing tickles your fancy.
KISSENA CORRIDOR TO CUNNINGHAM PARK
Exit the park to the northeast and you’ll encounter a more-or-less connected series of green spaces, gardens, and bike paths that stretch from Flushing all the way to Fresh Meadows. This is the Kissena Corridor, and it ties together what’s become known as “parkland” in Queens’ vernacular.
Once you arrive at Cunningham Park, you’ll have the option of either continuing your journey east along the Vanderbilt Parkway bike route or exiting westward onto 73rd Ave for the return journey to Flushing Meadows. It’s just about all road cycling from here on out to close the loop, however you’ll be pedaling along a dedicated bike lane so there’s no need to sweat.
Besides, after all that time in the park, you might just be missing some good old New York City exhaust.