Photo of New York State Pavilion by Mario Catini via Matthew Silva, documentary film director of Modern Ruin
The New York State Pavilion has predominantly remained dormant since it closed in the 1970s. During its heyday, however, the futuristic structure once housed state exhibits and performances, serving as the “shining star” of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, which welcomed over 51 million people, according to reports.
In the decades since then, the Philip Johnson-designed Pavilion has fallen to a state of deterioration, but recent renovation efforts, led by The National Trust for Historic Preservation in collaboration with The Cities Project by Heineken, are aimed at restoring this iconic New York City landmark to its previous grandeur. Later this spring, we’re also hosting our first tour of the Remnants of the World’s Fairs at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. While we will explore hidden-in-plain-sight remnants of the 1939/40 and 1964/65 expositions, please note we will not be entering the Pavilion.
See more details here. In the meantime, here are 10 fun facts we uncovered about the New York State Pavilion, which consists of the “Tent of Tomorrow,” three concrete Observation Towers and the Theaterama.
1. The New York State Pavilion Stayed Because it Was “Too Expensive to Tear Down”
The 1964-65 World’s Fair was always meant to be a temporary affair. During its installation, all exhibitors were required to sign a lease that said that their pavilions would be demolished within 90 days of the fair’s closure in October 1965.
To construct each pavilion, pile drivers were used to install poles into the park’s foundation for support. The wooden pilings that were used were undoubtably strong enough to last through the fair’s two-year lifespan. The New York State Pavilion, however, stood the test of time as it was “too expensive to tear down,” according to The Landmark Preservation Commission in 1995. This could possibly be attributed to the belief that steel piles, in addition to wooden ones, were utilized during the Pavilion’s construction although the location of these piles has never been documented.