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Pavilion paint project a bigger job than expected

By Bill Parry

Workers at the New York State Pavilion began a $3 million beautification project Sunday applying the original “American Cheese” yellow paint to the weather-worn structure.

Two bridge and steel painting unions were going to provide the work for free as part of their apprenticeship training program, but the plan had to be modified.

“When we started putting up the scaffolding, we realized it proved too difficult for just the apprentices,” Jed Colden, the executive director for the International Union of Painting Contractors Association, said. “We had to bring in expert rigger foremen and journeymen in to help because the job is so complicated.”

The extra labor costs will not be passed on to the city. Union president Keiran Ahern will be paying the extra labor from the union’s promotional fund. When the project was announced in May, Ahern called it a labor of love.

“This is really important to him,” Colden said. “We’re aiming to have the whole Pavilion painted in time for the US Open and we should meet that projection if the rains hold off.”

Meanwhile, the city Parks Department is considering adding gates to the entrances of Flushing Meadows Corona Park after officers from the 110th Precinct handed out 39 summonses to late night partyers on May 31.

“The boathouse and Marina West parking lots provide a number of uses to everyday park goers, so we are working to find a solution that will take both public use and enforcement needs into account,” Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said. “As always, safety is always our top priority – we have already installed speed bumps at the entrance to the boathouse to deter reckless driving, and are exploring the feasibility of purchasing and installing gates as well as other options.”

— Bill Parry

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