Thursday, February 7, 2008

Rest in peace, David Oats

David Oats, a lifelong civic activist and journalist in Queens who worked tirelessly to protect and improve Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has died after a lengthy illness. He was 58.

David Oats, Flushing Meadows advocate, dies at 58

Oats' name became synonymous with Flushing Meadows Corona Park as early as the 1960s, after master builder Robert Moses told the then-young man he should form a group that would seek to protect the park. In the subsequent years, Oats was part of several groups whose central focus was the park and founded the Flushing Meadows Corona Park World's Fair Association, which he was chairman of until the time of his death.

Requiescat in pace.


Anonymous said...

I am devastated to hear of his passing. Such a good man. He fought tirelessly for the park. He was always a thorn in the side of parks officials, especially Estelle Cooper. It was one of the things I loved about him! I will continue to pay visits to Flushing Meadows Corona Park and when I do I will always think of David. He dedicated his life to helping that park.

ken said...

a real shame. :(
But bear this in mind, Queens officials. David Oats will be keeping an eye on the park from above, now, so you'd best start maintaining it properly!

Anonymous said...

What a shame ... what a shame ... he went too early.

georgetheatheist said...

How about naming the new pool-swimming facility in FMCP after him?

The Lone Voice said...

We've lost a truly compassionate man. Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed.

Rob said...

Dave was a true original. Not only was he a champion advocate for Queens, but he was a brilliant writer and editor. Dave could wow you with stories of the World's Fair, the foibles of Donald Manes and the battles over Willets Point. As a journalist, I -- and I am sure counteless others -- owe my career to Dave. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Anonymous said...

George,it will never happen in a million plus years. The "administration" at FMCP never liked David as he always pointed out their lack of care and respect for the park they govern.

Stephanie Weil said...

Rest in peace Dave. I still remember you when you were my editor at the Q Trib.

Some of those conversations about the Fair were interesting. Thank you Dave.

Paul Priore said...

Paul Priore
35-40 163 Street #F-2
Flushing, NY 11358-1701

(917) 576-0992

February 9, 2008

Mr. Michael Schenkler
Queens Tribune
174-15 Horace Harding Expressway
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365

Dear Mr. Schenkler:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my condolences to the family of David Oats.

I have had the honor and privilege of knowing and working with David on numerous projects regarding Flushing Meadows-Corona Park throughout the years.

Both David and I spent a great deal of time trying to bring back the beauty and grandeur of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

I first met David when he worked for another local Queens newspaper years ago as an editor. At the meeting, I had brought along a videotape which had captured many disgusting and deplorable conditions within Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, as well as various letters of complaint that I had written to City officials from several agencies.

Last year, David told me that the publisher of the first Queens newspaper that he had ever worked at had forbidden him from writing any negative reviews about one of the Parks & Recreation Department officials because of their longstanding friendship. This didn’t sit well with David, and he, in fact, told me that one of the reasons why he left the other Queens newspaper was because he felt that continuing to work there would jeopardize his journalistic integrity. In addition, David also felt that the other newspaper had been violating my Constitutional First Amendment right to free speech, and was trying to censor me from exposing the truth about that Parks & Recreation Department official and the ongoing problems in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. When David joined the Queens Tribune, he was allowed to write the truth about what was happening in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and my quest to correct the wide variety of ongoing problems that plagued the park.

Both David and I were very passionate about Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and we both felt that we needed to fix the problems. Even though we were met with plenty of resistance, we were, nonetheless, able to rise above it, and accomplish as much as we could.

David was one of the few people who always believed in me and stood up for me. He was a true pioneer and an honest, decent human being.

David was a great asset to the Queens community and to the world. He will be sorely missed for his lifelong efforts and achievements to correct the wrongs of the world.

I will miss my dear friend, David Oats.

Rest in peace, dear friend. Your accomplishments were not in vain.


Paul Priore
Parks and Community Activist