Maria Julia Echart, The World's Park Community Advisor 

Photo: Sam Holleran

She's one of nearly two dozen residents we recruited as Community Advisors to initiate community-led transformation of Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP) in Queens. The group is spending four months at our Community Design School to improve wayfinding and circulation in the Park, and its connectivity to the surrounding communities. Read more about these sessions.

Name: Maria Julia Echart

Occupation: Former Queens Center Mall employee turned spirited community activist involved in social justice campaigns, including Vision Zero and Fairness Coalition.

Neighborhood: Corona, Community Board 4

Neighborhood Involvement: Make the Road NY

Languages spoken: Spanish, English

I visit FMCP: Frequently and bike around the lakes. 27 years ago, I spent my honeymoon in the Park.

Maria Julia is focusing on how to create more opportunities for visitors to learn about the Park. Together with the members of her Team Learning, she's exploring ways to:

  • Make layers of park history more visible;
  • Highlight the cultural resources in the park;
  • Give people the background on different features of the park like plants, objects, architecture, etc.
At a community forum on March 1st, she'll introduce her preliminary design concepts, alongside the other Advisors, for feedback from the wider community. At the second forum on April 12, they will present their final concepts. It will also mark the opening of the exhibition at the Queens Museum that features all of these community-driven design proposals, on view until May 3, 2015.

Maria Julia, like the rest of the Community Advisors, is eager to present her ideas to the NYC Parks Department, participate in further planning and design of FMCP, and motivate neighbors to do so too.