From the Times Ledger:
The Parks Department estimated it would cost $21.3 million to $27.8 million to restore just the Tent of Tomorrow.
This would have all been unnecessary, said Marcia Lynn, a former city Department of Environmental Protection employee, if city leaders had carried out her plan, introduced to officials in 2002, to make use of the Tent and towers while providing Queens residents with useful services.
At the time, she said, she had three experts who determined the entire Pavilion was structurally sound and had lined up a group with $20 million to $30 million in funding to restore it.
Lynn’s proposal would have saved the structures by turning the Tent into a multi-floored ice skating facility, public school and New York sports museum and transforming the tops of the towers into a sports bar and restaurant. Lynn’s daughter, now 21, was an avid hockey player and figure skater during her school years and Queens offered no place for her to play the sports she loved.
That is where Lynn’s plan would come in. The Tent would have offered ice sports and a full academic day at an off-site charter public school, she said. The structure would have retained its character but been rebuilt with a glass skin, four to five floors, two or three rinks, the museum, a skate school, shops and more. The plans would have recalled the years when the Tent was operated as a roller rink.
In about 2000, Lynn organized a coalition of experts, including the pavilion’s original structural engineer, Vincent DeSimone; the original architect, the late Phillip Johnston; and Gordon. The three performed an analysis of the towers and Tent and determined they were structurally sound.
“We had a big consortium, we had about $20 [million] to $30 million to fund it. At the time the economy was good, we weren’t at war, so we thought it would be a great program,” she said.
Lynn became ill shortly thereafter and the project was put on hold until 2002, when she said the consortium took the plans to the Parks Department.
At the time, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff was hoping to secure the 2012 Olympic Games for New York City, so he was pressing for a new skating rink with an Olympic-sized pool, plans which eventually manifested themselves as the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Rink.
The consortium’s plans were ignored and the city is worse off, Lynn said, as only a two-rink facility can host tourism-boosting hockey tournaments.