Pat Dolan sets up an appointment to have Campione
meet and speak with her group the following week. They have gone
on record that they want the swimming pool and skating rink completed
first however they want to know what Campione & Aybar have
been doing and how they plan to proceed. She also said tells
him that she doesn't think it was Parks that was focused on the
pavilion but Estelle Cooper and that she is a "champion
fund raiser" and must have someone "in her group"
that has plans for the pavilion which is why she is showing the
"I think gentleman we are finally at
the crossroads." Campione suggests
that Aybar put together a letter to Amy Freitag via registered
mail stating that they have sent the letter requesting to be
the ambassadors to fund raise and that they have complied with
everything the DP&R has requested to date to no avail. The
letter would state that if the Parks Department no longer wishes
to work with them, Campione & Aybar respect their position
and remind them that all ideas and work presented are protected
by intellectual copyright laws and that Campione & Aybar
do not expect their concepts or proposals will be used in part
or in whole by the Parks Department or any other person(s) interested
in stabilization or development of the pavilion, including but
not limited to the stabilization designs presented by CREATE
and Meyer Engineers, in addition to the reuse concepts. After
that, Campione thinks they may have to abandon the project as
he feels that the Parks Department has their own agenda and it
doesn't include them. "... to use the old cliche, you
can't fight city hall." Campione feels, if nothing else,
"we sparked their interest and lit a fire under their
ass," and concludes by saying that if Deputy Commissioner
Freitag doesn't respond to the registered letter, a final story
on everything that has been done to date should be posted on
the website and that "the chapter is closed."
Letter addressed to Parks Commissioner Adrian
Benepe is sent asking bluntly what the DP&R's intentions
are toward the Air & Space Museum proposal. Aybar & Campione
give him until February 19, 2004 to respond.
Amy Freitag responds to Campione & Aybar's
letter of January 23rd. They are promised a letter from the Parks
Department regarding their fund raising efforts. Ms. Freitag
states that "her department follows-up on all correspondence
within two weeks of receipt."
In an email exchange with Pat Dolan of the Flushing
Meadow Park Conservancy, Campione laments that they can't seem
to get the Parks Department to keep them in the loop on any other
efforts surrounding the NY State Pavilion. Ms. Dolan replies
that it's no surprise as to how Parks is treating them ... "that's
the way they treat everyone. The Conservancy has grant funds
that we are ready to spend and cannot get Parks to tell us where
to put our projects! I suspect they may be telling you a story
in hopes you may go away. Don't!"
Aybar expresses his frustration that it has been
two weeks since Ms. Freitag promised to issue a letter concerning
their fund raising efforts. Aybar wonders, "what ever
happened to common courtesy?" Campione responds, "We
gave them to the 19th to respond. Give the mail a few more days
(end of week). Then we pull the plug."
Campione receives a phone call from Amy Freitag.
He is told that the details of an RFP were being worked out and
that her chief of staff held up the letter because they didn't
want conflicts with the RFP versus what she may have put in a
letter. She said she will call by Friday to let him know about
the letter and the RFP.
Aybar receives a phone call from "Liz"
at the Park's Department telling him that the letter is being
signed today by Adrian Benepe and will go out tomorrow morning.
No letter has appeared in the week following
Aybar's March 10th telephone call from the Parks Department.
Campione & Aybar mutually agree to call it quits. Campione
decides to contact "Liz" at the DP&R who tells
him that the letter is at the Arsenal building (DP&R Headquarters).
It had to go through a review process and it should be on its
way to Campione's office.
Campione & Aybar receive a letter from
Adrian Benepe that says,
Dear Messrs. Campione and Aybar:
Thank you for your letter regarding the New York State Pavilion.
As you know, Parks shares your passion and commitment to this
icon of the Queens skyline. We agree that the first vital step
is its stabilization but that ultimately, a new, stimulating
function will be necessary to ensure the New York State Pavilion's
existence for future generations.
To this end our Revenue Division will prepare a request for expressions
of interest in offering bold new visions for the pavilion's long-term
adaptive use. We encourage you to participate in this process
by responding to the request with your two-step vision for the
pavilion. Our hope is that this public process will gain attention
and momentum for the project, perhaps yielding additional partners
and/or sources of support.
We appreciate your enduring commitment to helping us preserve
this New York City landmark. We too are excited to see this project
cc: Estelle Cooper
Campione & Aybar are bitterly disappointed
with the letter. Aybar believes it is another Parks Department
stall tactic and contains nothing that they were promised in
repeated conversations with Deputy Commissioner Freitag. For
his part Campione is appalled that after two years of negotiating
with the Parks Department and Queens Borough Officials, and the
meetings with Olympics 2012 officials to bring a team to the
table towards a mutual goal, this is the best the Parks Department
Campione tells Pat Dolan, "The letter
we finally received from Parks is a joke. They have strung us
along for too long. I don't think I will be attending Estelle's
shindig unless you can convince me that its worth it to go to
hand out flyers in the parking lot of what the Parks Department
is doing to ignore private development and fund raising."
Dolan replies, "... it's time to go the civic route.
Start with some preservation folks whose names I' ve given you
and follow up with local leaders ... You are wasting your time
with Estelle [Cooper] who has no reason to do anything
for you. Come join the Queens fighters."
Queens Assistant Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper
hosts a "40th Anniversary Gala" at the Terrace on the
Park Facility in Flushing Meadows to celebrate the 40th Anniversary
of the opening of the 1964/1965 NY World's Fair. Among the honorees
of the event is former Queens Borough President, Claire Schulman.
The event is touted by Assistant Commissioner Cooper as a fund
raiser for the future renovation of the NY State Pavilion. It
is reported that most of the speakers spent a lot of time praising
Cooper saying she has essentially been the driving force for
some time in the park and has been behind many of the renovations
in the past 10 years. They report raising a half million dollars
but do not specify any plans for it.
Campione writes to Amy Freitag that he is sure
she will understand that he and Aybar were less than enthusiastic
once they received the long awaited letter from Parks signed
by Commissioner Benepe, and that it has taken him this long to
put together words without being bitter or derogatory in the
spirit of teamwork. He tells her that the result of waiting for
the letter, as well as its content, gives them no power or authority
from the Parks Department to raise funds, neither on a national
level nor to put forth their best efforts with a national organization
looking to offer partial endowments for the stabilization or
adaptive reuse. He says, "So we are forced to play your
game. As such, when should we expect the RFP to be issued by
the parks department? At which time we will determine collectively
as a team whether we will respond or if we will retain the rights
to our project under the federal copyright laws and hold them
from future use at the pavilion or elsewhere."
Freitag responds to Campione's email by saying
that the letter from the Commissioner was in no way meant to
offend or incite. She tells him she understood that they were
interested in participating in the Request for Expression of
Interest (RFEI) "(slightly different from an RFP, but
essentially the same type of process)." She says Parks
welcomes their interim assistance with the pavilion but thought
they understood that the Parks Department would not give them
an exclusive right to develop the pavilion in advance of an RFEI
process and that perhaps she misunderstand what Campione &
Aybar wanted from Parks in the interim. She goes on to say that
the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
has completed two projects: an overall historic structure report
and a laboratory analysis of cleaning and stabilizing techniques
for the NY State Pavilion map and that "Estelle Cooper's
fund raiser was a huge success. She hosted over 800 people and
raised significant funds for the Pavilion. I hope you see these
modest achievements as both the work of kindred spirits and evidence
of our shared goals of preservation."
Campione replies to Freitag:
"At this point we see no interim.
I am glad parks has put the pavilion on its radar screen, to
that we take some credit. We are also glad to see that Parks
is allowing QTIP [Queens Theater-in-the-Park]
to expand their structure adjacent to the decaying towers
and [I] assume all studies have been conducted to minimize
any further deterioration of the towers while construction commences
for QTIP. Oddly enough Estelle rejected any concepts of expansion
of the pavilion in our proposal. And again I am glad that Estelle
has changed her ways and feels the pavilion is worth saving and
her fund raiser was a "success." Success however is
measured in many different ways and the pace in which Parks works
is far too slow for a person who specializes in one objective,
servicing their clients and achieving results.
We can patronize each other as much as
we like. And I don't wish to be bitter as we have always offered
one thing - a helping hand. If Parks and the city have decided
to go elsewhere it is out of our control. Stabilizing the map
and cleaning are nice, but without a long term plan the efforts
are merely a gesture and waste of monies only to be spent again.
If Parks wants to continue at a snail's pace so be it. That too
is out of my control and I don't see any benefits for it. The
fact remains this, Parks has neglected the structure for over
35 years so why rush now?"
Ms. Freitag's response is, "We welcome
your fund raising help...we cannot say it more plainly."
In a letter addressed to Ms. Freitag, Aybar states
that he and Campione are committed to make things happen for
the NY State Pavilion and the City of New York. But, for over
the past three years they have had no commitments from Freitag
and her staff. He states that they asked to be part of a fund
raising team to start soliciting funds for stabilization of the
structure only to be turned down in Benepe's letter. They spent
countless hours speaking with professionals at their own cost
going over the Parks Department's own commissioned reports and
coming up with the same conclusion as stated in the reports:
the building is unstable and can collapse. He reminds her of
the statements in the engineering reports from 1992 and 1996
that ask for emergency funds to "stabilize" or "demolish"
the structure and bluntly states that "eight years have
gone by, and nothing done." He goes on to address her
remarks that a university is going to work on restoring the map
and asks if this makes sense at this time or is he missing something
with the logic of this? Finally, he says "if you want
us, please get things moving for us (and advise such) otherwise
we will move on to projects that others respect."
Despite their disappointment over the events
of May 11th, Campione & Aybar press on. In a letter to Johnson/Ritchie
Associates Architects, Campione looks to them for some advice
and guidance. He tells the architects that the DP&R continue
to keep them at arms length yet will "not actually cut
the cord," saying "Each time we actually offer
to walk away they continue the conversation but will not outline
an agenda nor give us direction other than to say they we have
their support. We figure that's a double edge sword. Or more
likely they know they can't use our ideas with another team but
perhaps politics may be forcing parks to look elsewhere for the
end user. They are considering an RFEI for the adaptive reuse
but have stated (via phone today) what makes us "unique
and cool" is that we have always put stabilization as paramount
as the adaptive reuse." He asks if Johnson/Ritchie are
close enough with (Assistant Mayor Dan) Doctoroff's office to
see if perhaps a meeting could be scheduled directly with him
to see if they can find the light at the end of the tunnel and
that if they present the architectural team cohesively it could
bring some weight to the table.
Aybar makes plans to get rolling with fund raising
activities and recruitment for potential board members. He feels
the National Business Aircraft Association is a source along
with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He arranges a contact
with a representative of Embry-Riddle on June 14th.
The NY City Parks Department issues a Request for Expression
of Interest (RFEI) for proposals for renovation and future
use of the NY State Pavilion. Developers who want to repair the
site and license it from the city for use must explain both how
they would stabilize the structure and what use would be made
of the pavilion. Responses to the RFEI are due on August 11,
2004 and are to be sent to the attention of Slayter Gray, a project
manager with the DP&R.
The RFEI is publicized only in the local New
York City media area. The RFEI appears on the NY City Parks Department's
website, a fact that is not publicized.
In contrast, a similar search conducted by
the Queens Museum (also located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park
and a relic of the 1939 World's Fair) in 2004 for a designer
to renovate that structure, is publicized nationally as a design
contest. The Queens Museum applies for and is given a $50 thousand
dollar grant by the NEA to assist in the search and puts together
a blue ribbon panel to study the design proposals submitted and
make a recommendation to the museum Board of Directors on a candidate.
Their search takes nearly a year between announcement of the
design contest and selection of the winning design bid.
Aybar & Campione receive a copy of the
RFEI in the mail. Campione is again bitterly disappointed in
the Park's Departments efforts stating, "this RFEI is,
to put it bluntly, a joke on the part of Parks or [else]
they think we are stupid. It is one of the shortest RFP (RFEI's)
I have ever seen but clearly notes that Parks reserves the right
to negotiate with applicants not necessarily responding to the
RFEI and TO USE IDEAS OR PROPOSALS SUBMITTED IN ANY MANNER DEEMED
TO BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, INCLUDING
TO SOLICIT COMPETITIVE SUBMISSIONS RELATING TO SUCH IDEAS OR
PROPOSALS. Basically that means we would submit our plans and
ideas and if they deem we can't do the project, they can take
it in part or in whole and negotiate with someone else. To that
I politely respond NICE TRY."
Campione suggests that he attend a July 8,
2004 on-site meeting organized by the DP&R for interested
parties responding to the RFEI at the NY State Pavilion. Then
he will let the Parks Department "go through with this
charade" and on the day the bids are due, respond with
a letter that states they are not submitting due to the terms
outlined in the RFEI and remind them in the same letter that
all proposals previously shown to Parks remain the property of
the Campione/Aybar team. Alan Ritchie advises him to be careful
in not submitting. He feels it could be automatic ground rules
for dismissal and would work against them.
The lack of publicity for the RFEI and the
relatively short time frame allowed by the DP&R to submit
a response does not go unnoticed by Campione & Aybar. They
think, perhaps, this is the Parks Department's way of giving
a public nod to the proposal, or a visible, public way of killing
it. At any rate, the RFEI does not seem to be a sincere attempt
to solicit other ideas for the stabilization and reuse of the
Despite their misgivings regarding the Parks
Department's intentions toward them and their belief that the
RFEI is a less than a sincere effort by the Park's Department
to solicit serious proposals for a permanent reuse of the NY
State Pavilion, Campione & Aybar decide to submit an RFEI
and begin a campaign to bring aboard major players to back them
up. They contact and enlist support from such names as Otis Elevator
Company, the original developer of the "Sky Streak"
elevators of the pavilion; the original m/e/p/ Syska Hennesey;
the original Tent of Tomorrow roofing designers Kallwall Corporation;
project developer Dan Rubin of PREIT; and several others. Their
efforts are greeted with overwhelming support for the project
and each contact agrees to submit a letter of support to be included
with the RFEI.
The New York Times publishes an article
titled "City's Tall Order" The article reports
that the city's Parks Department is soliciting ideas that would
justify spending millions of dollars to reverse decades of neglect
of the NY State Pavilion. Commissioner Adrian Benepe is quoted
as saying, "We'd love to bring it back to life. But it
would have to be something that could produce revenue."
The Times article is one of only a handful of New
York City newspapers to publicize the RFEI and is printed on
the very day that the only tour of the pavilion is held for interested
Campione writes to Amy Freitag of the Parks
Department regarding his experience at the Parks Department's
July 8, 2004 on-site walk-through:
"Don't know if you heard but there
were only CREATE and Max Gordon Architects
there yesterday (not counting parks, press, Atlas Construction
(who is joining our efforts) and one member of a local business
association (who is also backing our proposal). I'm assuming
Mr. Gordon is the Sports Museum Architect?
We were also told the last RFEI that went
out (something on the waterfront in Brooklyn) resulted in only
two responses from the public and the project never went to RFP
which causes us some concern. Concurrently, we are equally concerned
with the terms of the RFEI that were further discussed at the
walk through as well as the lack of any true schedule that will
be kept by Parks to ensure fruition of a project once responses
are received on August 11. As such, is that something that can
be addressed formally through Slater prior to submissions? In
addition she noted she is going on vacation so who do we address
clarifications to in her absence? It was left at the walk through
that basically Parks doesn't have a time line or schedule which
would leave us, after all this, essentially where we were.
I think the media coverage was OK and of
course positive for the public (with the exception of the [NY] Post article that seemed to make a mockery
of the project). And while parks is putting their best foot forward
for some national attention, I believe you will be extremely
impressed with our progress since we last spoke via telephone
and the team of "all stars" we have and continue to
We would however like your assistance in
reaching out to NYC2012 for an interim use since this too was
discussed at the walk through with no real answers provided nor
direction. Calls to Alexander Garvin have been unreturned."
Deadline date for submission of RFEI to the NY
City Parks Department for proposals to stabilize and reuse the
NY State Pavilion.
Campione &Aybar deliver their response to the DP&R's RFEI. In addition
to addressing all of the points set forth in the RFEI the proposal
includes letters of endorsement from Philip Johnson-Alan Ritchie
Associates Architects, Meyer Consulting Engineers, The Thornton-Tomassetti
Group, Cosentini Associates Consulting Engineers, Langan Engineering
& Environmental Services, Zion, Breen & Richardson Associates,
VMI-Maris Traffic Consultants, Otis Elevator Company and Kalwall
Corporation, among others.
Campione places a telephone call to Slayter Gray,
the Parks Department contact for the NY State Pavilion RFEI.
He asks how many responses the Parks Department got to the RFEI.
He is told that, per her boss Mr. Charles Kloth, they need to
keep that private "and if anyone has a problem with that
they have to go through Parks Legal Department." Campione
tells her he finds this absurd since Parks was willing to issue
the list of attendees of the July 8th walk through to parties
that did not attend. She said she was unaware that it was issued
but Campione says he knows for a fact that a party that didn't
attend received the list of names because one of his project's
new supporters has the list!
In an email to Slayter Gray, Campione inquires
as to the status of the submission to the RFEI. Since his telephone
conversation regarding the number of submissions there has been
no further response from the DP&R. He states, "We
still would like to know the number of respondents and indeed
we now are requesting to be aware of all parties that did submit.
Since my office's conversation with you and per your recommendation
that we contact Parks legal department it has been reviewed and
determined by our counsel that this is indeed a matter of public
record and thus should be made available not only to us as respondents
but legally must be provided to any member of the general public
who may make a similar request. We are eager to hear from you
not only to our original request but on the status of Parks review
and comments, recommendations to date."
Campione is contacted by Alan Ritchie who tells
him he was at an event two nights ago when he happened to be
formally introduced to Adrian Benepe. He asked Commissioner Benepe
what was going on regarding the RFEI. According to Mr. Ritchie,
Benepe didn't even realize Ritchie/Johnson Associates was a part
of the Air & Space Museum team. Mr. Benepe's only comment,
when directly confronted with the question of what is going on
and what are you going to do was, "we are not doing anything
because we didn't get what we wanted" which was someone
willing to pay Parks for the use of the pavilion. Mr. Ritchie
told him he thought his team's submission met all of the requirements
and said Commissioner Benepe was "like a deer in the
headlights because he didn't even know I was part of the Campione/Aybar
team." Campione states, "Sounds like at the
end of this year we will finally dead file the project and parks
will keep their eyesore."
letter dated September 27, 2004, Campione is notified,
"At this time Parks is not prepared to go forward with
a Request for Proposals regarding [the NY State Pavilion]."
The one-paragraph letter thanks Campione for his interest
in the project and encourages him to submit bids and proposals
for other DP&R concessions in the future.