Bid made to save landmark

Preservationists and state Sen. Toby Stavisky recently submitted the deteriorating New York Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the upcoming World Monuments Fund Endangered Monuments list.
By Jeremy Walsh

The deteriorating New York Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is once again in the running to make a worldwide list of endangered monuments, a preservationist said.

Greg Godfrey, president of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park World’s Fair Association, and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D−Whitestone) submitted the application to the nonprofit World Monuments Fund to make the rusting leftover from the 1964 World’s Fair eligible for the biennial list, which will next come out for 2010. The complex also made the 2008 endangered monuments list.

“It’s sort of like an endangered species list except it’s an endangered structure list,” Stavisky said.

Godfrey, who was not involved in the 2008 effort, said he started preparing an application when he heard the deadline was approaching last month.

“Basically, I called up and they said it didn’t look like anybody was applying for the New York State Pavilion,” Godfrey said, noting Stavisky quickly responded to his request for a co−signer. “Hopefully, between her endorsement and the interest of the state preservation office, which I’ve had a lot of communications with, hopefully things will mobilize to give this structure a little more importance in terms of funding.”

Godfrey said the new list will be released this fall.

The pavilion, which comprises two large observation towers, the Tent of Tomorrow and the building now housing Queens Theatre in the Park, was not maintained for many years after the World’s Fair. The Tent of Tomorrow, which has a large, paved map of the state of New York, was recently the subject of a $200,000 preservation survey.

A city Parks Department official said the preservation study of the Tent of Tomorrow is entering a final round of reviews before it goes to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe in roughly a month. The department is still searching for the estimated $300,000 that would be needed to survey the observation towers.

Stavisky said the state would not be able to help in the short term.

“Funding is very difficult right now, and we did have items in the budget,” she said. “Hopefully, the city Parks Department will take a more active role, since it’s administered by the city Parks Department. I think they have an obligation to find some funding in their budget when it becomes available.”

According to the World Monument Fund’s Web site, 544 sites have been included on the seven lists. Nearly half of the listed sites have received WMF grants totaling $50 million with additional $150 million in assistance from other sources, the group’s Web site said.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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