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David Oats has passed away

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I think that this is most appropriately reported under the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park topic as the Park was one of Dave's dearest passions.

I received a call this morning from Greg Godfrey who serves as Dave's Vice-President at the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park World's Fair Association. Dave passed away last night in hospital after a brief illness.

Dave was an amazing man. He could talk your ear off for hours and it would feel like time had barely passed. He did good things for Flushing Meadows and he tried to do even better things for the Park. Sometimes he succeeded. Sometimes he did not. But he never stopped trying. And he was never afraid to be a thorn in the side of the bureaucrats in the Parks Department when he felt they were being simply bureaucrats and not public servants. His admiration for Robert Moses is legendary and I'd like to think that RM left a bit of himself behind and passed some of his irrasablity on to Dave -- which may have served him well when doing battle against the people he considered the forces of evil! He will be missed. The Park will miss him. Those of us who knew him as a friend or an acquaintance will surely miss him.

Our sympathies go out to his wonderful wife, Corrine.

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I do hope there is a Heaven and that Dave is back at the fair right now seeing Robert Moses once again.

This is sad news indeed, but thank you for the notice.

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I am deeply saddened, I got to know David quite well during the time we both were working to save the US Pavilion. He was the editor of the Queens Tribune at the time and always made sure the paper gave press to the deplorable conditions at Flushing Meadows. He so wanted Flushing Meadows to be the kind of a park Moses intended it to be. The last time I saw him was at the Hall of Science the day he announced the desire to look into Flushing Meadows hosting another worlds fair. A kind and gracious gentleman he will be missed.

http://www.qgazette.com/news/2006/0503/ ... s/008.html

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Wow, sad. He was a great guy. He, Corrine and Greg dined with us at the Parkside Restaurant after a Saturday in the Park (SiP) a couple years ago. What a fun time we all had! I'm sure Bill Young won't mind if I use a photo from http://www.nywf64.com and a link to the David Oats stories there:

doats03.jpg[/attachment:1ync75pd]

A brief background; David was born and raised in Flushing and, as a kid growing up in the 1950s, enjoyed the park around the corner from his housing project as his "backyard." Unmindful of its past role as host of the 1939-1940 World's Fair, the park was simply the place to play ball, ice-skate, swim and picnic during the summers. Then, in 1961, they closed the park down to build a "World's Fair" to be opened in 1964. The young Oats, angry that his backyard had been taken away, would sneak through the heavy gates and play cat-and-mouse with the Pinkerton guards who patrolled the Fair construction site. Until one day, in August, 1962, when a severe thunderstorm literally halted the boy's wanderings in the dangerous construction site. He was caught, by the "Pinks," up to his knees in mud!

His eviction by the cops lead to a chance encounter with Robert Moses who felt bad for the local kid....

CONTINUED AT http://nywf64.com/perspective01.shtml

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His ironclad and unflagging resolve to preserve, protect, and promote the historic legacies of FMCP was truly inspirational... and I should think his memory would best be honored by our continued efforts on his behalf.

Deepest condolences to his family. It's a sad day in the Park.

filming.JPG[/attachment:1zvwk19r]

David Oats (white cap) speaking to NY Times reporters about the deplorable conditions of FMCP on August 11, 2007 (courtesy forgotten-ny.com).

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When Bill Young and I went out to NY in '03(?), we spent most of a day with Dave and Corrine. What a treat that was!

We cruised the Fairgrounds and most memorably, stood outside Moses's office while Dave regaled us with stories of his relationship with The Man.

After dinner, we had Belgian waffles at the Oates' apartment, overlooking FMCP.

A grand day, with two wonderful people.

I am truely saddened by this news.

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I had the great pleasure of dining with David, his lovely and gracious wife Corinne and friend Greg Godfrey, along with other fellow travelers in 2006 courtesy of the Park Bench, Richard Post. I offer the following pictures in rememberance of David.

DavidCorrineGreg.jpg

ParksideCrew.jpg

Good-Bye David, we will miss you!!!

John

David.jpg

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Long-time PTUer Park Bench (Rich Post) called me last night shortly after hearing about his close friend's David's passing- apparently he didn't find out until yesterday evening. Rich wants to post his own remembrances here later today but has been having trouble logging on to PTU since it relocated last year. I will help with that, or post his words for him if he can e-mail them to me.

Rich also wants to start a drive to get a plaque installed in the park, saluting David for his efforts over many years in the park's behalf. I'm sure we'll hear more about that, and many of you will want to help.

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My friend of 38 years has passed away. I am very sad indeed.

In our youth, we both were from the same Flushing neighborhood and could pass for identical twins (my mom always thought David was me!). We had similar interest in life, especially regarding the fair and park. We also knew the same people and enjoyed an occasional pizza at Glorias.

This past year, we would talked for hours on the phone, laughing our heads off and thinking about the future of FMCP.

David was such a "people" person and advocate for citizens of Queens. A very sincere, thoughtful and kind man with a heart of gold; and very successful media person as well.

I did speak with his widow and expressed my sincerest sympathy for her, David's sister and family.

There will be a private funeral only for the family.

This loss was sudden and my tears are being shed as David was our true watch dog.

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When you type "New York State Pavilion" in Yahoo, David Oats' site is the first item that shows up. After reading through the history of David's efforts and his personal connection to the Fair I thought: there is a 2 fisted advocate of the NYSP if there ever was one. That inspired me to find and join PTU and get the images I took of the Pavilion last summer and in 1977 out there, because the beauty of this structure speaks for itself and despite neglect, it survives as a beacon for all the positive aspirations of Fair. I never met David and only learned he was also from Flushing in Chas' post here. Like David I also snuck into the Fair construction site (at about 10 and on my bike) making it as far as the Sinclair Pavilion; the ride from Northern and Bowne was a short one.

David must have known that with the many changes in the works for Flushing Meadows, including the expansion of QTIP and restoration of even parts of the NYS map, that the start of a process that will lead to the restoration of the NYSP was underway.

When all is said and done a bench with a clear view of the NYSP should be installed with his name on it.

My sympathies go to his family

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MEMORIAL INFORMATION:

Greg Godfrey phoned me with this information today...

The funeral service will be private. If people would like to send donations, here are the three organizations that David would have wanted and which are supported by the family:

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

636 Morris Turnpike #3A

Short Hills, NY 07078

Tel : 800-225-0292

http://www.christopherreeve.org

City Harvest

575 8th avenue 4th floor

New York, NY 10018

Tel : 917-351-8700

http://www.cityharvest.org

American Stroke Association

POBox 3049

Syracuse, NY 13220

Tel : 888-478-7653

http://www.strokeassociation.org

All donations should be sent to the selected organization in Memory of David Oats. Anyone sending donations should also include the acknowledgement information to be sent to Corinne Oats.

Thank you.

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As I read the posts above, I'm greatly saddened about David's passing. I never met David, but we called each other over the past four years and had hours of recollections that we exchanged with each other. He was so able to detail even the most minute details of so many incidents despite his bout with failing health. His mentor and "sidekick" was miraculously Robert Moses himself. His love of life included the events at The NYWF which greatly influenced his consistent desire to preserve what could have been preserved! May he rest in peace.

Ray Dashner

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I am so glad that I had a chance to meet David before this sad event. R.I.P. , and condolences to Corinne.

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Sad indeed. My deepest condolences to anyone who crossed his path. Actually, walking any path at the park qualifies...

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I am so sorry to hear this news. Condolences to Chas, and the rest of you who were fortunate enough to have had someone (who obviously was a great person) as a friend.

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Rich also wants to start a drive to get a plaque installed in the park, saluting David for his efforts over many years in the park's behalf. I'm sure we'll hear more about that, and many of you will want to help.

FYI, I just talked to Richard. He wished to clarify that while he favors the concept of a memorial plaque he is not collecting money for one and that he would like to respect the family's wishes with respect to memorialization. Accordingly, Richard asks that persons who wish to remember David contribute to one of the three groups that David's family supports: 1) City Harvest, 2) Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and 3) The American Stroke Association. The addresses and links for the three groups are in Bill Young's post above.

John

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