On Oct. 12, 2006, I sent the following letter to the Mayor, the Parks Commissioner and the FAA. Dear Mr. Mayor and Mr. Parks Commissioner:
This letter is sent to you with a sense of urgency over another example of the contempt and neglect of the N.Y. City Dept. of Parks toward the city's largest land-area park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Specifically, the all-important red aircraft light atop the New York State Pavilion in the park has been out for a period of at least three months-if not more. We have discovered that these red lights atop all structures exceeding 200 feet are critical for the safety of the structures and the people inside and below as well as the aircraft and their passengers.
The tallest tower of the New York State Pavilion is 226 feet - exceeding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for such a light to alert pilots to an oncoming tall structure. This week's airplane tragedy in Manhattan is a severe wake-up call to the dangers of planes flying near or around tall structures. The fact that this light on this tall tower - in the direct proximity to the flight path of nearby LaGuardia Airport - has been dark and apparently unnoticed by parks officials is a dereliction of duty by all levels of parks management and is putting the safety of parkgoers and all citizens at risk and borders on the criminal.
I personally can observe this tower from my apartment in Forest Hills and have been alarmed by the failure to restore the light. As I write this letter I observe the tower in a deep haze and fog, almost totally obscured while planes from LaGuardia take off and land almost every minute all around it.
We found that FAA regulations require authorities to report this kind of lighting failure within 30 minutes! Well, it's been quite a lot longer than that, perhaps three months or more, and the light is still out.
But this failure of proper park maintenance should not come as a total surprise - it is another shocking piece of the ongoing scandal of mismanagement and contempt for this park. The light on top of that New York State Pavilion is an apt symbol of the 40-year neglect of this important structure. Designed by world-renowned architect Philip Johnson and considered one of the most striking structures at the 1964-65 World's Fair, is has been allowed to rot and decay for decades.
But again, no surprise from a city agency that has allowed acres of grassland in this park to be sold and used as gigantic parking fields during the US Open and Mets games. We recently wrote to you (and have not yet heard back) about the fall of an historical granite monument in the park that was hit by a car or bus speeding along one of the park's pathways made for the use of bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians.
The fall of that monument-like the failure to replace the light atop of the New York State Pavilion-is a shameful symbol of the disregard for the important stature and history of this park but, more importantly, for the safety and security of its users.
Mr. Mayor and Mr. Park Commissioner, that is your number one responsibility. Shame on you and your so-called administrators of the park for not taking care of these problems. Perhaps, they should go and you should replace political hacks and incompetents with real administrators and managers.
Our association will be sending you this fall comprehensive proposals for:
I. Solving the parking problem in the park and getting real action - not endless talk - on finally using the adjacent Willets Point area of the park.
II. Restoring the destroyed "Heads of State" monument and relocating it to a more fitting setting in the park.
III. Returning the New York State Pavilion to a park use befitting its grandeur.
Flushing Meadows has been allowed to turn into a disgrace to its glorious past, but more importantly, a potentially immediate mortal danger from both the ground and the sky.
Put that light on. We, citizens of the city and lovers of the park await your answer and your action. Respectfully, David Oats President, The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park World's Fair Association Greg Godfrey Vice-President Photos of the parking problem at Flushing Meadows, the collapse of the historical monument and the N.Y. State Pavilion can be accessed on our website at www.theparkwatchdog. org. For all regulations governing FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, consult CFR, Code of Federal Regulations, 77 series, and Advisory Packets Numbers AC70-7460- 2K and AC70-7460-1K.