Friday, February 7, 2014

Melinda Katz, preservationist?

From the Times Ledger:

Borough President Melinda Katz joined a activist-driven push to return the long neglected New York State Pavilion to its former glory Thursday.

“The right direction is to preserve and save this for generations to come, to make it a useful part of the park,” Katz said to a group of elected officials, community leaders and Parks Department employees at Queens Theatre in the Park, before leading them on a walk through the grounds of the site of the 1964 World’s Fair.

The Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson and is comprised of three observation towers, the largest of which is 226 feet high.

Katz led the group past the towers and into the Tent of Tomorrow, which has 16 100-foot pillars that one-time supported a 50,000-square-foot roof. That area is now closed off to the public.

Parks Department officials recently released estimates of $14 million to demolish the Pavilion and more than $52 million to preserve it.

Katz said $14 million should not be used to tear the Pavilion down and if anything could be used as a base in the preservation initiative.

“I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I or any or the elected officials know exactly what we want to do here. I think the one thing we want this to be is a collaborative effort through all of the community groups,” Katz said. “It’s not going to happen in a day, but if we don’t start the process, it’s never going to happen,”

The borough president said her office will soon start to hold monthly task force meetings for the project.

From the Queens Chronicle:

With the Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers, the two rusting icons of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair, behind her, Borough President Melinda Katz officially called for the preservation of the structures on Thursday, just months before the 50th anniversary of the global gathering the pavilion was built for.

Joined by Assembly members Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) and Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing), Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie, Parks Department representatives, various community board leaders from across the borough and the three-man People for the Pavilion preservation group, Katz emphatically declared her wish to see the pavilion saved while on a walking tour of the site.

“My hope in being here today with everyone, and for causing some notice for this, is to try and bring these groups together and I felt like there needed to be a push in getting folks in a direction,” Katz said. “I think we all know the right direction. The right direction is to preserve [the pavilion] and save this for generations to come to make it a useful part of the park and to make sure it doesn’t fall down on people around it.”

In addition to just voicing her support for the movement, Katz also said that a task force dedicated to brainstorming ideas and uses for the site will be created within the next month.

The group will meet either once a month, “or at least quarterly,” at Borough Hall, according to Katz, and will be made up of the Borough President’s Office, community board leaders, the Parks Department, elected officials, historical groups and People for the Pavilion, although Christian Doran says his group has yet to receive a formal offer to join the task force.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Okay fine, Ms. Katz. Now show us you mean it. Hate to sound so cynical but given the broken promises all of us in this borough have seen over the years, can you blame us? This is your chance. Let's see what you've got.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Good start. Glad that old looney Marshall is gone and that we now have someone with a brain and vision. There is a lot of work to do in Queens.

The Flushing Phantom said...

Maybe alley Katz can persuade her consort Curtis Sleaze-wa to go to Home Depot and pick up some supplies to repair it for the sake of their love child to enjoy in the future.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the crumbling structure didn't fall on their heads while these geeks were mugging for the cameras. In one fell swoop a big chunk of mediocrity in government could have been wiped out.

Anonymous said...

This photo-op is very smart on Melinda's part, to try to divert attention from all the steamy stuff coming out of Curtis' former wife civil lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

I will concede she's got more energy and operating brain cells than Marshall, so her choice of photo-ops so far seem better than her predecessor's.

Anonymous said...

$54 million to fix it up, of which $10 million goes to Melinda and her cronies.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been to the new Queens Museum?
I went one afternoon last month. There were more staff than visitors. That boondoggle cost us $80 million!!

Anonymous said...

tear it all down and turn make the park all parkland. grass and trees

ron s said...

May be an empty photo-op, may be BS, may be impossible given that we are in Queens. Having said that, it is an iconic structure that should be saved. Would this have been left to rot in Manhattan? If there is a possibility of saving the sturcture in a useful way, go for it.

Joe Moretti said...

Katz stated in the article: “I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I or any or the elected officials know exactly what we want to do here.”

No fucking shit, none of you know what to do about anything, you all make it up as you go along. There is no thought or logical and analytical thinking what-so-ever from you elected folks. It is a game of picking straws. If there was any thought, you would not have picked useless former Councilman Leroy Comrie as your Deputy President.

Now, what are you all going to do about the ACTUAL COMMUNITIES (you know where people actually live) that need preservation and cleaned up instead of some relics that you all have left to rot for decades and will probably cost millions and millions of dollars because of elected officials neglect. How about returning Jamaica to it’s glory days, you know an actual community where people live, then focus on your little pet project.

Well start with the community of Jamaica, which has been neglected for decades, then deal with the rusted relics. But I guess is too busy making shit up as she goes along or being involved in the all that “who’s your baby’s daddy” bullshit. Another wasted of an elected official and the asshole public voted for her.

Anonymous said...

Make us proud Melinda!

Anonymous said...

If this structure were in Manhattan it would have been maintained.

Seriously, even if it was restored, who would want to visit it?

Anonymous said...

She must be looking at this as a way to make money. There's absolutely no way in hell she actually gives two fucks about the place unless she stands to profit from it.

Anonymous said...

One of the first preservation battles that I ever got involved in was attempting to preserve the Billy Rose Aquacade, which used to stand just to the south of the Long Island Expressway.

In the early 1990s, then-BP Claire Shulman had spent millions of dollars to come up with a plan to restore the Aquacade, one of the last remnants of the 1939 World's Fair.

Here's a brief bio about it...'s_Aquacade.

However, ignore this sentence:

The New York State Marine Amphitheatre [Aquacade] was torn down in 1996 because of local opposition to renovating the asbestos-contaminated structure as a concert venue.

Totally untrue. The reason the Aquacade was torn down was that after millions were spent coming up with a plan to restore the building, one of Shulman's pals pressed her for a demolition contract.

All of a sudden, the building couldn't be saved anymore. It was "falling apart" and "unsafe" for use.

We rallied a wide spectrum of people to try to save the building and restore it, including people involved in show biz and concert promotion, who wanted it re-used to be used as a venue - which is EXACTLY why it was built!

It was all for naught - Shulman, deputy to Donald Manes, the "Borough Bulldozer," refused any entreaties to restore the building.

Once demolition ensued, it took them almost *one year* to tear it down. It was the best built and most permanent structure from the 1939 World's Fair.

In fact, they had to leave the foundation, as it was too complicated to remove it, which now has a children's playground at the edge of the lake.

Cautionary tale, folks. Make sure you nail down support for getting the NY State Pavilion preserved before BP Katz changes her mind because someone close to her wants to make some easy cash.

Paul Graziano

Anonymous said...

Associated society for the Preservation of donated semen

Anonymous said...

Tear down the lower structure and create parking for the Theater in the Park and Observation Towers.

Refurbish the observation towers and lease out as a restaurant/etc to cover the expenses of maintainance.

Light the towers at night and make them as visually iconic as the Unishere.

Anonymous said...

What we've all learned in Queens is that talk is cheap. Actions are what counts and Queens is short on action.

Anonymous said...

what does 52 million get? preservation doesnt mean adaptive reuse. it just means to stabilize the state and remediate decline.

a restaurant in the observation towers would be an awful idea.

they should have gotten some money from the USTA to restore it to some use.

Anonymous said...

And look what's there now. A sitting area with an empty food kiosk that's falling apart.. I just read that $ millions will have to be spent to make repairs. Outrageous !
Never trust Parks Dept to maintain ANYTHING in our parks!

J said...

I don't want to give the impression that I know what to comment here.

Joe said...

Here we go !
Another $$$$$ million study so special friend "firm's" can to tell us the tent it needs $8 million stabilization (with lots of concrete around the tents pile caps ) first before any repairs.

Here Melinda: It will cost $80 to $120 million to restore and bring up to code.
That advice free!

Anonymous said...

Wow an actual Marge Markey sighting! Write this down Bob!

J said...

I'm all for preservation,but that thing has got to come down.It's not really that interesting,and the city could have saved a lot of money if they renovated over the years(50!!!)instead of spending 50 million to do it now.The only thing worth preserving is the unisphere and that looks in poor shape.

If Queen Mellie wants to blow away 50 mill she could divert those funds to park safety,crime has increased in that park steadily over the past 12 years and could use more surveillance at night.

Joe said...

Its built is such a way it would cost the same $$ to demo it as to stabilize & spiff up.
Fix and light it up with changing color LEDs & Lasers for different occasions. !!
The lower observation decks was Robert Moses private restaurant/bar for NYCs top pols, racketeers & VIP guests. It still has plumbing the scrap vandals could reach.(refrigeration and AC equipment was recently removed)
Some time back in the 90s on my first visit found some glow in the dark VIP badges, lights and even saw opened condom caplets, wine bottles and plastic flute glasses up there. The NYS Pavilion clearly had lots of "private party's" loooong after the fair closed.
Claire Shulman was a big fat liar. The structure wasn't in 1/2 as bad shape as she constantly told the public.
The relay racks controls fuses,breakers and Otis motor for the elevators is still there and look amazing for 50 years.

ramrod said...

The Worlds Fair is a part of specialness and history that New Yorkers and especially the people of queens should all be proud of. There for millions to see and enjoy could be the start a wonderful new use and era for the buildings and that special site. Congrats to the BP for noticing and wanting to do something about it. After all are there still world fairs like these? and is this not a represent a history of wonderment and hope and vision for great future and that the great people of NYC has helped and will continue to help make for a better world. I think in her first days of office the New BP has shown us vision, guts and the desire to work for a better queens for all of us.

ramrod said...

whatever it MAY be congrats to Melinda that she recognizes something great could still come from it.

Anonymous said...

I hope Melinda gets something done for Queens we been screwed out of everything else possible for the past 20+ years.

The endless rein of Bloomberg, Marshall and Shulman really F_cked us over. The damage is straight out of "Beneath The Planet of The Apes" Queens really needs some a ray of light the NYSP can provide.

Queens Crapper said...

And Melinda worked for Shulman and kowtowed to Bloomberg at every chance. So why do you think she'll be any different now?