It’s been an eventful week at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, with the conclusion of the U.S. Open and a visit from the Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle. But for World’s Fair buffs, the big news is that the restoration on the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion is beginning soon. A project update on the Parks’ capital project tracker states that there is an estimated start date of September 2019, and that a date has been set for construction to begin, an update first noticed by the People for the Pavilion. When asked for additional detail, a spokesperson from NYC Parks’ press department told Untapped Cities that construction is expected to begin next month though there is no exact date at this time. Five years ago, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz dedicated $14.25 million in city funds to restore the New York State Pavilion, and with additional money from New York City Council and mayoral funds to total nearly $24.1 million. The work includes reconstruction of the stairways, replace deteriorated suspension cables at all the platform levels, repair deteriorated concrete, restore the floor finish on the plaza level, partial restoration of the historical lighting design, replace and repair electrical and drainage infrastructure.

Inside the observation towers. Photo by Robert Fein, provided to Untapped Cities for a 2015 article. Fein is one of the passionate members of the 3000+ group People for the New York State Pavilion on Facebook

A 2017 NYC Parks document goes into schematics and additional detail for the restoration project. The lighting will feature light emanating down from each platform and from within the stairwells. In conjunction with additional work to be done on the Tent of Tomorrow to restore the lighting design there as well, this will be the most visible and striking change coming from the restoration project — which will be seen for miles around.

One of the changes which will alter the original material but have a longer lifespan is a shift from “Terrazzo-styled” linoleum floor methacrylate coating floor. In contrast to the original, which has a 5-year lifespan and is only as good as the adhesive it is attached with, the new floor will have a 15-20 year lifespan and is fully reversible.

Photo by Robert Fein

An interior stairwell. Photo by Robert Fein.

Photo by Robert Fein

Learn more about the restoration and plans for Flushing Meadows on one of our upcoming tours of the Remnants of the World’s Fairs:

Tour the Remnants of the World’s Fairs at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Next, check out a short video documentary that was just released by Unforgotten Films about the restoration efforts at the New York Pavilion.

3 thoughts on “Restoration on World’s Fair Observation Towers Begins Soon in Flushing Meadows

  1. Wonderful news! Now we’ve seen some “before” photos, I’m excited to see lots of “after” photos at untapped cities. The Pavilion is a magical reminder of the 1960s and Philip Johnson’s and Richard Foster’s futuristic vision, and is most deserving of its place on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s gratifying to know that it will finally be restored and cared for accordingly.

  2. Yay. Finally. I was up in those towers a couple of times during the Worlds Fair in 1964. It is ironic that this was one of the few “permanent” structures from the Fair, and yet the city has let it Rust away. I still love passing by them on the LIE every time I drive into the city from Long Island.

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