Elmhurst Park is a public park located in Elmhurst, Queens, New York City. The site was formerly home to the Elmhurst gas tanks (officially the Newtown Holder Station), a pair of large natural gas storage gasometers that were 200-foot-tall (61 m). The area is bordered on the south by 57th Avenue and the Long Island Expressway (Interstate 495), on the north by Grand Avenue, on the west by the LIRR-operated Bay Ridge Branch, and on the east by 80th Street.
Built between 1910 and 1921, the gas tanks were built to hold gas. Until the 1960s, the gas tanks had been maintained by an inspector using a rowboat. Due to the increasing prevalence of much more compact gas cylinders, Brooklyn Union Gas began dismantling the gas tanks in 1996.
Because the Long Island Expressway frequently became congested in that area, "backup at the Elmhurst Gas Tanks" became a familiar phrase in radio traffic reporting. Having been literal rather than legal landmarks, the two huge gas holders were completely removed by 2001.
Construction on the $20 million park, spearheaded by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, started in 2007. On May 24, 2011, the Elmhurst Park was opened on the former site of the gas tanks. The park contained state-of-the-art facilities including benches, lighting, lawns, and jogging paths, in addition to a playground and more than 620 trees. The 6-acre park's bathrooms were delayed greatly, however. Having opened in September 2012, the restroom facilities were stylish and spacious, although highly controversial; they drew wide criticism due to their $2.3 million cost.
- Kershaw, Sarah (September 1, 1996). "A Large Something Seems to Be Missing". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Hevesi, Dennis (September 20, 1993). "Memory-Filled Tanks; Queens Loses 2 Roadside Landmarks". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2008.
The Elmhurst tanks — those 200-foot monoliths that stood sentinel to the changing landscape of Queens and as harbingers of hair-tearing delay on the highway to Manhattan — are down, deflated forever, their skeletal remains waiting to be dismantled.
- "Elmhurst gas tanks". Queens Tribune. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
But when the beloved landmarks weren’t really doing the business anymore they came down in 1996 and by 2001 there was almost no trace of the tanks that once supplied business and homes across the city.
- "NYC.gov". NYC.gov. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "Elmhurst Park : NYC Parks". Nycgovparks.org. 2011-05-24. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- By Katy (2011-08-01). "Destination Playground: Elmhurst Park in Queens - Brand-new Gas Tank Park in East Elmhurst Queens | Mommy Poppins - Things to Do in NYC with Kids". Mommy Poppins. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "Exploring Elmhurst Park, Six Acres And a $2.3 Million Bathroom - Camera Obscura - Curbed NY". Ny.curbed.com. 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "New $2.3 million Elmhurst Park bathrooms have lots of style and room". NY Daily News. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "After two years and $2.3 million, Queens park still awaits public toilet". NY Daily News. 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2014-08-02.