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Al Schmelz

New York State Pavilion Tile Restoration

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Not a threat, just an offer of technical assistance.

And if you think I'm in this for the money you are sadly mistaken.

I'll stand corrected then.

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When the scales start to be tipped toward the profit incentive over, say, scholarly research....I think most PTUers would agree that would not be a good thing. Fortunately PTUers seem to have the scales tipped the right way----- we seldom see anybody trying to keep information secretive in order to earn a buck...

I HAVE seen that in some other BBS's or discussion boards---"I'd tell you the answer, but you'll have to get my book for $35.95 plus shipping." We don't hear that here. If you want to buy something from somebody that's fine, but if you don't there's no reason to feel locked out.

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Well, I must say this has turned out to be pretty disgusting.

I am coming to the opinion that the NYSP should have been either demolished or preserved, but not allowed to get in this state of neglect. It takes money even to preserve it in some state of ruin, and even that isn't forthcoming. And railing that someone (Texaco or whoever) "should" do it only expends hot air. It pains all of us to see it the way that it is. but arguing about what should be done when none of us can command the funds to do it at the moment gets us nowhere. It is sad that only a small part of the map is being restored, and there is little doubt in my mind that redoing it from scratch would be cheaper, but there is not money for either approach, so, we should give thanks for what is being done (which I believe none of us is financing) until someone can see a way to do more.

And then wandering off into some rant about others' motives here -- no evidence I have ever seen calls for that. I have only seen common concern for the preservation of the memory and remaining artifacts of the fair, and unless someone has concrete evidence otherwise, I think a little cooling off and and a soft "I'm sorry" all around would be appropriate. So quit punching and shake hands, please!

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Hi Al,

this is what you were looking for I think:

From The Architecture of Philip Johnson by Philip Johnson:

"The New York State Pavilion at the 1964-65 World's Fair is now a ruin. In a way, the ruin is even more haunting than the original structure. There ought to be a university course in the pleasure of ruins."

Best,

MB

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Well, I must say this has turned out to be pretty disgusting.

I am coming to the opinion that the NYSP should have been either demolished or preserved, but not allowed to get in this state of neglect. It takes money even to preserve it in some state of ruin, and even that isn't forthcoming. And railing that someone (Texaco or whoever) "should" do it only expends hot air. It pains all of us to see it the way that it is. but arguing about what should be done when none of us can command the funds to do it at the moment gets us nowhere. It is sad that only a small part of the map is being restored, and there is little doubt in my mind that redoing it from scratch would be cheaper, but there is not money for either approach, so, we should give thanks for what is being done (which I believe none of us is financing) until someone can see a way to do more.

And then wandering off into some rant about others' motives here -- no evidence I have ever seen calls for that. I have only seen common concern for the preservation of the memory and remaining artifacts of the fair, and unless someone has concrete evidence otherwise, I think a little cooling off and and a soft "I'm sorry" all around would be appropriate. So quit punching and shake hands, please!

Well said Wayne…

However, in all fairness to Bill, I don’t think he’s really said anything that he needs to apologize for. His integrity and motives for participating on this forum were called into question and he was merely defending himself - perhaps a little vehemently, but that’s understandable…

And not that he needs me to stand up for him, but to Al Schmelz and anybody else who thinks that Bill is “padding his bank account” from the sale of his World’s Fair photo CDs or books, I’d like for you to consider the following…

First, go to Bill's website and look at the THOUSANDS of images that he offers for sale on his CDs (I count well over 6,700 for the 1964-65 NYWF CD sets alone). I’ve scanned a few thousand slides, negatives, photos, and other documents myself over the years, so I have a pretty good idea about what all is involved in the process…

If one were to conservatively figure that it takes about 15 minutes to scan, crop, identify, and digitally clean-up/restore each image before it’s ready for publication on a CD (and trust me folks, 15 minutes per slide is a pretty fast pace) and multiply that by 6,700 and you’re looking at somewhere around 1,675 hours of work!

Now everybody, think about how much an hour of your time is worth, and multiply that dollar amount by 1,675… even at a very low rate of $10 per hour, we’re already looking at almost $17,000!

Oh yeah, did I mention that Bill also had to purchase the slides in the first place? Has anybody here bought any World’s Fair items off ebay lately? Let’s figure another $3,000 here for 6,700 slides…

Plus there are the costs of the CD discs, jewel cases, labels, bubble wrap, as well as the overhead costs of the scanning equipment, computers, printers, toner, the worldsfairphotos.com website, etc, etc… so let’s add another $5,000 to the total…

So now we’re very conservatively looking at an investment of roughly $25,000 (and most likely a lot more, as I’m pretty sure Bill’s time is worth more than $10 per hour).

And what princely sum does Bill charge for one of his photo CDs? Well, most of them listed on ebay right now have a starting bid of $5, or a Buy It Now price of $10 (and a little bit more for some of his newer offerings…), plus $4.60 for priority mail shipping - which is exactly what the US Postal Service charges for a 1-pound priority mail item; so there’s no price gouging here (as some sellers do). And oh yeah (again), did I mention that there are ebay fees and PayPal fees which cut into the “profits” as well?

BTW – has anybody here ever tried to purchase a photo reprint from a library or corporate archive? The going rates from most are about $50-$75 for an 8x10 or 600dpi scan - PER IMAGE! With over 100 photos per disc (and scanned at 2900dpi or better), Bill’s photo CDs are an absolute steal at $5-10 each!

Now, at $10 each, Bill would have to sell about 2,500 CDs (or 5,000 at $5 each) just to break-even on his assumed initial $25,000 investment (actually a little more than that if you throw in the ebay and PayPal fees). Other than the forty 1964-65 NYWF CDs that I have bought from him over the years, I have no knowledge of how many CDs Bill has sold, but 2,500 to 5,000 copies are quite a lot for this type of material, so I would imagine that his sales barely come close to covering his investments (if at all)…

The point I’m trying to make here is that just like the rest of us on this forum, Bill’s interest in the NYWF is recreational - it’s a hobby; and if he’s like me, the digital archiving of his vast slide collection is a personal labor of love, and perhaps a desire to preserve a small piece of the past for future generations - and if he can recoup a just small portion of the costs of his hobby by offering his photos on CDs to the rest of us, then more power to him and those like him.

So, rather than implying that Bill has ulterior motives for being here, he should be applauded for his insightful postings, and commended for the work he performs as an administrator on this forum (along with Marc, Randy, and Trey).

We should also be grateful that Bill is willing to share his image collection with the rest of us (even if it’s for a small fee to help defray the costs), and thankful that he’s not one of those schmucks who pays huge sums of money on ebay for rare World’s Fair materials… only to throw them in a storage bin where they will never be seen by the outside world again.

So how about we have a little Peace Through Understanding around here, and get back to talking about the Fair?

(As MB was trying to do before I so rudely interupted - I’ll get down off my soapbox now… :) )

Cheers,

Kevin

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Thank you.

There is a great quote from Philip Johnson which I'm looking for. It said that when he drove by the NYSP (in the last 10 years or so) he didn't mind it as a ruin. He still appreciated it. I feel the same way.

If we can restore part of the map that's great. If we can restore part of the NYSP, that's great. History is important.

Many of us come here because of the history and what it still means to us. We appreciate what the 1964-65 Worlds Fair was and hope to keep the memories and what remains in Flushing alive. If we can restore even some small part, it keeps it alive.

It's apparent some are only here to attempt to sell pictures and books.

Al

I read my earlier posting to see what caused the commotion here. I've seen many comments here over the years with pictures, books and DVD's for sale. I did NOT think of Bill Cotter and only Bill Cotter when I posted this. Yes I know he has written a book about the 1964 World's Fair. I have it.

My annoyance stemmed from an apparent lack of interest in the tile restoration and of some positive activity (finally) from those who are senior members of PTU. I had a discussion at the Queens Museum last week about how the death of David Oats will severely hurt the care and restoration of the remnants of the great Fair. If you all recall the monument of (famous) people who attended the fair that was damaged, I don't believe it would have been restored without David Oats. I hope someone will pick up the slack.

I was surprised and disappointed in the lack of excitement and interest by some here.

If anyone has any comments they wish to covey to me personally, please e-mail me or let me know in person on June 22.

Al

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Although there is enthusiasm from afar, what it needs is a grass roots 'movement' from within Queens and Long Island- strong enough to overcome resistance at City Hall.

And for that it needs a charismatic local leader. You're right about David Oat's passing, but truth be told even he wasn't enough to get any significant breakthroughs.

Forget doing it through the tax coffers.

What would it take- $200 million? How many citizens live in Queens (including Flushing, Corona, etc.) And how many live on Long Island?

Let the citizens of Queens donate twice as much per head as the rest of Long Island, and you're still probably not talking more than two dollars a person.

If you only get donations from half the citizens, then maybe it would be something like $4 a person.

Just don't let people run the campaign who will take 50% as their 'administrative fee'.

There is so much distrust of the parks department, it would probably be best to strike a deal with them via a 'non-profit' to do the restoration and run it for 50 years. And none of this 'unions are guaranteed a cut of the restoration contract work' crap. Let them compete for the work like everybody else. If they're that great, the qualtiy of their work will speak for itself.

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Although there is enthusiasm from afar, what it needs is a grass roots 'movement' from within Queens and Long Island- strong enough to overcome resistance at City Hall.

And for that it needs a charismatic local leader. You're right about David Oat's passing, but truth be told even he wasn't enough to get any significant breakthroughs.

Forget doing it through the tax coffers.

What would it take- $200 million? How many citizens live in Queens (including Flushing, Corona, etc.) And how many live on Long Island?

Let the citizens of Queens donate twice as much per head as the rest of Long Island, and you're still probably not talking more than two dollars a person.

If you only get donations from half the citizens, then maybe it would be something like $4 a person.

Just don't let people run the campaign who will take 50% as their 'administrative fee'.

There is so much distrust of the parks department, it would probably be best to strike a deal with them via a 'non-profit' to do the restoration and run it for 50 years. And none of this 'unions are guaranteed a cut of the restoration contract work' crap. Let them compete for the work like everybody else. If they're that great, the quality of their work will speak for itself.

Randy,

My hopes for any restoration are alot smaller. I hope some of the tiles are preserved permanently and kept on display. It seems the Queens Museum with all of the newly available space is the logical place. If anything can be done to the NYSP that would be great. I don't expect it though. I don't even mind it as a ruin.

I find it interesting that alot of time and money is being spent on the Queens Theater which is pretty much attached to the NYSP. In the "finished" photo I attached earlier, the towers and tent are still standing.

Time will tell.

Al

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Here's the thing. I've said it before. PUBLICITY! If there is one thing that history has prooved, is that if one uses the media properly, people will come up from everywhere. The story of the NYSP needs to be told on a grand scale. Not just on a city or state scale. People from all over the country, all over the world, remember the 64 fair, and they remember the NYSP. Taking into consideration that the the only way the TOT could be made structurally sound would be to allow the removal of the mezzanine and map, (to allow heavy equipment and scaffolding, to say the least) then resupport the whole thing with concrete and steel, now the NYSP could be reinvented into a world's fair memorial. With the map removed, a basement could be put in, with an amphitheater on top, under a new roof. the towers would also be completely re-invented, with all but the concrete and cantilevers being re-used.

Proposed budget? Mimimum $500 mil. To really do the place up, let's say $1 billion.

The thing is, nobody on the city or state level really is going to even put up $5 mil to restore a stairwell and provide proper acess to a necessary aviation light. Of everything, the aviation light is still the most important thing, and the city won't even put in a single stairwell to get up there to change the bulb.

The only way, the ONLY way, to get money for NYSP and see a plan actually come into fruition, any plan, is to gain mass public interest in the location and then private funding on a global scale.

It can be done. Just think, a simple act of someone grappling up the tower and bungee jumping off the side during the peak of the US open. The crowds, the television cameras, all pointed to the NYSP. People start googling the NYSP, learn of it's plight. Donate a few bucks. OK, bungee jumping off the thing is crazy. I'm not going to do it. But the point is, there are ways to draw mass attention to the place. The NYSP needs an agent, and an idea cabinet. Figure creative ways to draw media attention to the NYSP. Letter writing campaigns to all the newspapers. The place is on the endangered historical structures list. Meaning, if the pleas of the NYSP are not heard soon, it will indeed be too late, and the structure will be no more.

I now return to my refrigerator box in Tomkins square park.

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What's all this about David Oats' passing? Did I miss something?

David died in February. See this thread for more details: David Oats

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You know, right after I posted that the other day, I did what I should have initially done and Googled it. Wow, I had no idea. My condolences to his family, friends, his organizations, and also to us lot. In David Oats, we had someone who walked it like he talked it to the nth degree. I saw him at the Hall Of Science a few years ago when he announced the intentions of another World's Fair. He was some presence.

This is an incredible loss. I hope his good work and intentions carry on.

David died in February. See this thread for more details: David Oats

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There's been mention on this thread of a grass roots movement to get the floor/map restored. Pardon me, but aren't we a grass-roots movement dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the Fair? (and all the other ones?) Here's an idea...when we have the SIP in June, why don't we call a couple of TV stations and have a press conference on "Save the NYSP"? Shoot, we have all the documentation on the pavilion anyone could want. As a group, we're probably the best informed expert on the planet. If we, as a group, call attention to the plight of the pavilion, maybe Texaco or the city could be shamed into doing something. Waddaya say?

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NYSP reminds me of Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree but without the Peanuts gang to spruce it up for a happy ending.

Absent a cabal of bureaucrats who know but won't tell why that things sits and rots, I have to assume it's only partly a victim of lack of energy and imagination.

Vague allusions to some future use, public or private, won't cut it in a political environment. If a pol could slap his name on the side and cut the ribbon while bathed in flashbulbs and taped for the nightly news, he'd do so no matter what it was used for.

But the TOT is a small roofless space surrounded by a huge functionless superstructure. In terms of square footage to maintenance cost ratio, you'd need a microscope to see that number. What conceivable use can that floor be put to justify the expense?

Like the GW Bridge, all that exposed steel needs periodic painting. Unlike a bridge it has little or no purpose and generates no revenue.

Civil and other engineers incorporate maintenance and access passages into structures intended to stand for decades. Was that done for the NYSP intended to stand two years? How do you paint those huge steel plates of the upper ring other than rappel down to those sharp edges? You have to answer that and other logistic and liability questions.

The towers would make a neat observation platform, being the tallest things around for miles. But public elevators? In New York City? You'd need the same public safety services used in similar applications, at NYC prices.

The powers that be need to hear a very specific proposal as to what that structure can be used for, detailing not only the potential interest, but the costs to make it happen... and most importantly, the political payoff for all those involved.

Political payoff applies to the private sector too. If The Donald saw a reason to, he'd paint that exposed steel in gold leaf, surround the place with velvet ropes and limousines, and not let any of us in. But it would be preserved. The Tent of Trump.

So cue up "Linus and Lucy" and pitch the Parks Dept. or private benefactor/short-fingered vulgarian of choice, but on their terms.

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Remarkable that nearing two years later, and Tent of Tomorrow dot com is still getting appreciation mail and people

are linking to it and spreading the story. The blog that Bill linked to above is linked to my website story,

which in fact features Bill's pictures. (the blogger really should have credited Bill for them, not me)

I am happy to see the people are taking a new or renewed interest in the NYSP, that is what I had in mind when

I created the site.

Best, Jason

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