The lights are on at the New York State Pavilion in Queens and they’ll be on every night from now on! The NYC Parks Department has announced that the first phase of restoration work is now complete on the first major effort to preserve the Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow structures since the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
To mark this milestone, NYC Parks turned on the newly installed dynamic architectural lighting. The color chosen for this first lighting on Saturday, April 15th was “Parks Green.” Now that the stabilization and light work is complete, the structures will glow every night, seven days a week. There will be special color selections for holiday nights.
The New York State Pavilion is one of the most iconic remnants of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Designed by Philip Johnson, it includes the “Tent of Tomorrow,” three AstroView Towers – the tallest of which is 226 feet and marked the highest point of the fair – and the Theateramana. While “Theaterama,” which exhibited pop artworks by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, now operates as the Queens Theatre, the Tent of Tomorrow and Towers have long been abandoned. There was much debate on what purpose the structures would serve post-fair. For a short time, the Tent of Tomorrow served as an outdoor concert venue and then a roller skating rink, but it has now sat dormant for decades.
The $24 million restoration project included a laundry list of items in addition to the new lighting features. In order to stabilize the structures, deteriorated suspension cables at all levels were replaced and the tower stairs were fixed to provide access for maintenance. There was work done on the concrete of the towers and all of the conduits installed in the 1960’s were replaced along with the installation of new electrical equipment for an NYPD Mobile Command Center for vehicles. Original blue globe lighting at the Towers was restored as well.
For nearly 60 years the NYS Pavilion’s Tower and Tent of Tomorrow has stood tall above Queens’ beloved jewel, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, representing hope during challenging and changing times,” said Anthony Sama, the NYC Parks FMCP Administrator and the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park Executive Director. “Now, decades later, it illuminates our skyline once again, shining brightly on our vibrant and thriving park, welcoming its more than 10 million annual visitors. We congratulate NYC Parks on this great achievement.”
The next phase of restoration is still in the planning stages but will bring increased stability to the structures and eventually allow for limited guided tours of the towers in the future. We can’t wait! For now, you can join us to get an up-close look at the Pavilion from the outside on our Remnants of the World’s Fairs walking tours!
Remnants of the World’s Fairs Tour