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Bill Young

In My Opinion

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To The Editor:

After reading Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski’s comments regarding the Parks Department’s decades-old neglect of the New York State Pavilion, I must make a few comments.

It is fact that the Parks Department commissioned two engineering studies of the structural stability of the NY State Pavilion in 1992 and again in 1996. It is fact that these studies document the dire condition of the structure. It is fact that they have been ignored for over a decade by the NY City Parks Department.

Reading Ms. Lewandowski’s statement that “we disagree with those findings” is like listening to a patient given a diagnosis of terminal cancer by a team of specialists while they continue to insist that they have the common cold! Those engineering studies were reviewed by Meyer Consulting Engineers of Rockville, Md. in 2002 when that firm worked on the Air & Space Museum proposal for the pavilion. This third professional engineering firm concurred with the previous studies.

That Ms. Lewandowski, a politician, can make such assurances to the public about the condition of the pavilion when professional engineering studies say otherwise is astounding. And now we are to understand that Parks is going to commission yet ANOTHER study? Surely your readers must be questioning the competence of these people! Should something catastrophic happen while the Parks Department and the Borough of Queens continue to stall on making repairs to the pavilion, the Queens Tribune’s public record of these long-ignored studies should prove useful in the investigations of public negligence that are sure to follow!

I also take exception to Ms. Lewandowski’s comments on the 2004 Request for Expressions of Interest in the reuse of the pavilion issued by the Park Department. The RFEI was barely publicized and was not publicized outside of the New York area. One has to question the sincerity of the effort.

At the time, there was an open proposal for stabilization and reuse to transform the pavilion into an Air & Space museum. The backers of this proposal submitted a complete response to the RFEI which included funding options and reuse options OUTSIDE of an Air & Space Museum reuse. They put together a renowned team of backers and had partnered with the famed architect of the pavilion, Philip Johnson and his associate, Allan Ritchie. They had shown the Borough and the Parks Department how the pavilion could be stabilized for $2.5 million less than any previous proposal. Three years were spent developing this proposal, with much of the time spent waiting while the Parks Department moved along at a snail’s pace. All of this was rejected outright in the autumn of 2004 without comment by the Parks Department.

I am hoping that the Queens Tribune will take a closer look at this proposal and will publicize what was offered to the City, the Borough and the Parks Department. The comments of Ms. Lewandowski and the Parks Department that “no one came forward with a viable plan” are simply wrong.

Bill Young,



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