On November 8, 2019, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens Community Board 7 Parks Chair Kim Ohanian, and members of People for the Pavilion, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy and Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, to break ground on the reconstruction of the New York State Pavilion Observation Towers.
“The New York State Pavilion is an iconic symbol of the 1964 World’s Fair that keeps us connected to our city’s rich history,” said Commissioner Silver. “We are excited to restore this historic structure for the enjoyment of New Yorkers and visitors. Thanks to funding from Borough President Katz, Mayor de Blasio, and Council Member Moya, this treasured landmark will continue to serve as a symbol of Queens for generations to come.”
“The work we are breaking ground on today will go a long way toward restoring the iconic New York State Pavilion to its former glory,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This work will enable future generations to continue to enjoy the Pavilion’s distinctive Space Age architecture and be reminded about the important role the 1964-65 World’s Fair played in Queens history. It has been a privilege to work with our partners in government to preserve the Pavilion.”
The project will preserve the iconic structure and add dynamic architectural lighting to enhance the New York State Pavilion experience. Work will include waterproofing of the tower bases, stair replacement, electrical upgrades and structural conservation work on the observation towers. The $24 million project is funded by a $13.1 million allocation from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, $9 million from Mayor Bill de Blasio, and $1.9 million from Council Member Francisco Moya.
The New York State Pavilion was constructed for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Designed by Philip Johnson, the “Tent of Tomorrow” measures 350 feet by 250 feet, with sixteen 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000 square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. The popular exhibit also held three towers, measuring 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet. The two shorter towers held cafeterias for the fair, and the tallest tower, as the highest point of the fair, held an observation deck. The New York State Pavilion also included the adjacent “Theaterama,” which exhibited pop art works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The space was converted to the Queens Playhouse in 1972 and continued to operate until 1985.