Astoria Park, a 59.96-acre (242,600 m2) park located along the East River in the New York City borough of Queens, contains one of the largest open spaces in Queens. The park is operated and maintained by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Situated in Astoria and adjacent to the Triborough (Robert F. Kennedy) and Hell Gate Bridges, the park contains New York City's oldest and largest swimming pool. The outdoor 54,450-square-foot (5,059 m2) pool, planned by Robert Moses, was used for qualifying events for the 1936 and 1964 Summer Olympics.
Other attractions include bocce courts, fourteen tennis courts, two playgrounds, a skatepark, and one track for running. One of the playgrounds, Charybdis Playground, is across Hell Gate from Scylla Point on Wards Island. In 2001, the two features were named after Scylla and Charybdis, two water hazards of the Odyssey, after Henry Stern petitioned to the federal government to rename what was then known as "Negro Point". The names stem from the dangerous whirlpools in the waters of Hell Gate. On Independence Day, the Queens Symphony Orchestra plays in Astoria Park during the fireworks show. Upcoming events are posted on the parks department website.
The park was formerly the site of a First Nations settlement, and is close to where the General Slocum went on fire and sunk in 1904, as described by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation:
Before the arrival of European colonists, a trail passed by the site, and an Indian village flourished at Pot Cove. Local inhabitants grew maize on the shores, fished in Hell Gate, and drew water from Linden Brook, a small stream that still flows under Astoria Park South. In the mid-17th century the Dutch parceled out this land to various owners, including William Hallet whose grant embraced hundreds of acres. During the American Revolution, several British and Hessian regiments were stationed in the area. On November 25, 1780 the frigate Hussar and its five-million-dollar cargo sank to the bottom of Hell Gate, where despite some removal of cannons, the treasure still remains. The waters were the site of New York City’s worst maritime disaster on June 15, 1904. En route to Long Island’s North Shore with the congregation of St. Mark’s German Lutheran Church on board, the steamer General Slocum caught fire. At least 1,021 passengers out of 1,300 burned to death on the ship or drowned in the turbulent waters of the East River before the ship grounded on North Brother Island.
- "New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Astoria Park". Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- "New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Astoria Park, Pool". Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- Pollak, Michael (06-08-2008). "F.Y.I. - Turning Away Wrath". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-19. Check date values in:
- "New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Astoria Park, Events". Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- "New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Astoria Park, History". Retrieved 2014-06-14.