Even fewer recognize the significance of the New York State Pavilion because it has pretty much remained dormant since its closing in the 1970s. Well, following a one-time opening in 2014, a new paint job, and a design competition, things are about the change as Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hopes to begin renovations on the famed establishment as soon as possible. This past weekend, we were given a chance to go back inside the New York Pavilion, and made a video (below).
“The city has a request for proposal out on the street in order to light it up and do the structural work for people to enter,” said Katz. “Right now, we are looking at opening it up, at least for tours, and getting the structure proper for that.”
In the past, Katz has raised over $10 million for the renovations, according to a press release. These plans include the famous observation towers, which were seen in 1997’s Men in Black.
In the last two years, the borough president, with some important outside help, has been trying to reinvigorate the interest in the location. In 2014, they reopened the doors to guests for its 50th anniversary. At the beginning of June, Guerrilla Lighting and the National Trust for Historic Preservation lit up the establishment for one night, as a part of the special screening of Modern Ruin – a documentary about the building.
On top of this, The New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association repainted the ‘Tent of Tomorrow’ with its signature ‘American Cheese Yellow’ paint. The job in total took roughly 8,000 hours and 1,600 gallons of paint, according to The New York Daily News. Also, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and People for the Pavilion announced a public competition in March to take suggestions on what the refurbished New York State Pavilion should be used for. According to Katz, these little improvements are essential to drum up support for the structure.
“I’m of the belief that once you light it up, the interest nationally will be greater,” the Queens borough president said.
The New York State Pavilion was originally designed by architect Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Known for the three observation towers, the world’s largest suspension roof and the 567-panel terrazzo map of New York, it was used as a roller rink and concert venue after 1965.
However, the roof was declared unstable in 1976 and had to be removed, leaving the state of the structure up in the air, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. That is until now, as Katz hopes to get the ball moving on the full renovation.
“I’m hoping it won’t be when my son, who is 8-years-old, will become borough president,” said Katz. “I’m hoping [the renovations are] within my tenure.”
If you want to dive further into the New York State Pavilion, check out Untapped Cities’ video tour of the establishment.
Next, see more photos from inside the New York Pavilion from 2014. Read about New Competition to Reimagine World’s Fair New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows and Daily What?! Queens Once Held the Record for Largest Roadside Restaurant in the U.S.