A 35-year employee of the Parks Department, Melnick’s responsibilities include keeping the park clean, planning and organizing public programs, fundraising and everything in between.
It’s a job that comes with many challenges. The park is situated between Corona and Flushing, two of the most populous and underserved communities in the entire city.
Melnick estimates that between Mets games, the U.S. Open and the millions of residents who use the park for volleyball, soccer, picnics and baptisms, there are more than nine million visitors a year.
“It’s a balancing act of keeping the grass green, but also letting the public enjoy the park the way they want to enjoy it,” she said.
“We’re asked all the time, why isn’t the park like Central Park?” Melnick added. “Because that’s not what the community needs or wants. This is a utilitarian park, people use it.”
The park was originally designed to move millions of people from the two World’s Fairs that took place in Queens. Now, it serves as a community hub.
There are four cultural institution, two athletic stadiums, nine soccer fields, cricket fields, volleyball fields, two lakes and a marina.
“That’s what makes this really unique,” she said.
Parks offers free public programming all summer. Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., they host children’s programs, such as mad science, an animal show or children’s songs.
Every Wednesday night, they organize adult and family-friendly activities, like salsa night, movie night and silent disco.
Then there are cultural events in the park, like the upcoming Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in August.
“There’s something going on at the park everyday,” Melnick said.