Spring awakenings: Odes to Robert Moses in Kissena Park?

I love flipping through the collections of the NYC Department of Records because, on top of strange crime photographs and rote images of city blocks, you occasionally find images like the ones above.

According to the caption, these female and male dancers are performing in Kissena Park, Queens, in 1927. (In the fall, but they seem appropriate images to celebrate in the spring.) What are they doing exactly? Who knows? Who cares!**

Possibly they are celebrating the fact that Kissena, in Flushing just east of Flushing Meadows, greatly expanded to nearly its present size that year.  But it wasn’t property owners that were celebrating.  The city, grabbing the land in eminent domain, reimbursed landowners one-third of their demanded value.  A state Supreme Court judge approved the sale, adding, “No Rockaway or Florida boom in its wildest dreams ever approached the millions sought by property owners in this proceeding.” [source]

Even more development would come to Kissena with the arrival of *trumpets* Robert Moses, Parks Commissioner!  Kissena would be linked up with Flushing-Meadows a couple decades later, creating a bold ‘Queens corridor’ of parkland — some refer to it as an ’emerald necklace‘ — that could only have been crafted from Moses’ imagination.

In typical Moses fashion, Kissena was later expanded to include a modestly-sized golf course and, in the 1960s, a bicycle velodrome.

Below: Kissena Lake in 1926 which lends the entire park its name

**Another theory is that their dancing is a celebration of the life of Isadora Duncan, who died in a car accident the month before these images were taken, in September 1927.  They seem to be sharing the same effervescent whimsy of Duncan’s famous stage dances, not to mention the same flowy outfits.