June 20, 2018 By Tara Law
Legendary musician Paul Simon has announced that the final concert of his farewell tour will be held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sept. 22.
Simon, who grew up in Kew Gardens Hills, will perform hits and classic songs from throughout his career during the concert, which is dubbed “Homeward Bound— The Farewell Performance.” The concert will be the first major event to be held in the park in recent years
Simon will donate the net proceeds that he earns from the event to charity, with the non-profit beneficiary to be announced at a later date.
“It seems more like fate than coincidence that I should do the final show on this final tour at Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” said Simon.
“I could have ridden my bike from home to the park in about 20 minutes, when I was a kid. But this is less a goodbye than a farewell. Thank you all for the ride, I had a great time.”
General admission tickets for the concert will go on sale on June 29 at 10 a.m. Tickets will range from $75.50 to $149.50. A pre-sale for American Express Card Members will begin on June 25 at 10 a.m.
But some argue that the event should be free since it is being held in a public park.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who said she is a Paul Simon fan, issued a statement this morning arguing that there should be no charge.
“The City of New York could have— and should have– turned this long-anticipated homecoming of Paul Simon into a free concert for all in the park, not limited to those who can afford to pay concert ticket prices at the expense of the surrounding community,” Katz said.
Katz has opposed for-profit organizations renting out parkland throughout her tenure as borough president. She argues that the public should not be cut off from using park space in order for profit-making events to take place.
She released several statements in 2015 condemning proposals to rent out the park to for-profit organizations. The Parks Dept. rejected the applications for three major festivals in the park in 2016, including the popular “Panorama” music festival, which is now held at Randall’s Island Park.
But other elected officials such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Joseph Crowley, and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver expressed support for the Paul Simon concern, according to the event release.
“When Paul Simon sings ‘Homeward Bound,’ there’s no doubt he means New York,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The grit, beauty and complexity of this city are woven into Simon’s most haunting songs, and our greatest venues have formed the backdrop of his performing career. It’s only fitting that this son of Queens comes home to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”
Crowley said that he was “thrilled” about the concert.
“Paul’s farewell performance will be a once-in-a-lifetime event and we’re so proud to share it with him here, in the borough of Queens,” Crowley said.
Silver thanked Simon for choosing the park as the venue for the final concert of the tour.
Simon announced that the tour would be his last in February. He said that he may consider holding future performances in concert halls.
He said in a statement that the death of his longtime friend and lead guitarist, Vincent N’guini, had contributed to his decision to retire.
“Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing,” Simon said. “I’d like to leave with a big Thank You to the many folks around the world who’ve come out to watch me play over the last 50 years.”
“Once again, I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts.”