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Queens Chronicle

It’s Theatre in the Park

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Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 2:53 pm, Mon Feb 20, 2012.

Dear Editor:

Queens Theatre in the Park has forgotten its history and the great borough and park it has an obligation to call home in its very name. We call upon the borough president to immediately intervene to prevent Queens Theatre in the Park from changing its name to simply Queens Theatre.

Queens Theatre in the Park is an integral part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and was one of its earliest institutions which our organization many decades ago under the leadership of David Oats helped participate in building — literally with hammer and nail after years of city neglect.

Queens Theatre in the Park has taken $20 million dollars for its renovation to create a venue that enhances, echoes and helps define its part of the neglected New York State Pavilion. Without the pavilion, a cornerstone state and federal landmark our organization helped get recognized and protected, Queens Theatre in the Park would have no place, no identity, no architecture, no reference back to the Park which has hosted two World’s Fairs and the United Nations.

We recently lost two major activists who protected the people and legacies of this great park — Mr. David Oats and, just in the last few months, Ms. Pat Dolan. Both fought for pedestrian safety in this park and in this borough. It is a tragedy that Queens Theatre in the Park now lists its address United Nations Avenue South: That is a pedestrian thoroughfare, not an automobile thoroughfare.

I have almost been hit 12 times on my bike by the makeshift parking lot of polluting cars that becomes the front lawn of the New York State Pavilion when a performance is going to be held. So if Queens Theatre in the Park wishes to forget that it is in a park — which it both demonstrably does with its unsafe parking plan as well as its terrible decision to drop its identity inside the park — then there should be no cars anywhere in the park. Let them build a parking deck somewhere on its outskirts.

Queens Theatre. Is that in Manhattan, on 42nd Street? Talk about forgetting where you came from and who you are. Shame on you, Queens Theatre in the Park. Honorable Borough President Marshall, pick up the phone and put “the Park” back in our Theatre, a cornerstone to our soaring and iconic landmark, The New York State Pavilion — a structure which served as a daily theater of local music and talent during the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair for the towns and cities across this state. Performance has been part of the soul of this landmark structure for its whole life: This is a soaring stage of height, energy, and imagination of people and architecture in the park. Let us never forget that. We have already lost enough of the park’s history.

Greg Godfrey
The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park World’s Fair Association
Rego Park

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