Elmhurst Playground

motorcycles at the new play structures in Queens

Ask anyone who grew up in Queens, particularly in Elmhurst, if they remember the old giant gas tanks that stood for decades next to the Long Island Expressway, and their answer would be yes, of course. The tanks were built in 1910 and 1921. In 1996, the process started to dismantle the tanks, and by 2001, they were completely gone. In the twenty years that have passed since, the land that once held the Elmhurst Gas Tanks sat in limbo, but now, much to the delight of local residents, it has a purpose once again: a large, family oasis.

With just over six acres, the new Elmhurst Park is finally here, although it has not been smooth sailing along the way. Besides the fight over the name, which was originally slated to be called “Gas Tank Park,” the park itself has been almost four years in the making. But once you step through the gates, you’ll agree the wait was definitely worth it. There are rolling green hills and lawns, tons of seating, jogging paths, a multi purpose performance area, fountains, sprinklers, and a huge playground with equipment not seen in many parks around Queens.

The playground itself has the usual swings, slides, and things to climb, and also has many features dedicated to keeping kids active, including three motorcycles that generate energy for other parts of the park when they are used. There are signs explaining the process, about when kids pedal, the energy created gets stored for the games set up right next to the motorcycles. There are parts for almost every age group, but the majority of the equipment is more appropriate for young school age kids, from elementary through to middle school. Really little ones wouldn’t be able to pedal the motorcycles, for example.

The park fills a void for families in the Maspeth and Elmhurst area, who really would have to go to Juniper Valley Park to find such space and, let’s face it, grass. It’s located on Grand Avenue, between 74th and 80th Streets, just down the road from the Stop and Shop shopping center. One visit here would definitely have you and your kids hooked. In fact, visits might become a regular occurrence, no matter what part of Queens you live in.

Jesseca Stenson

More photos of the park: