In the latest short released by Unforgotten Films, Untapped New York’s Artist-in-Residence Aaron Asis gives viewers a look inside the Tent of Tomorrow, an abandoned structure that has been off-limits to the public since it closed in 1974. Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, the Tent of Tomorrow was one of three structures that made up the New York State Pavilion at the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Initially built to be torn down, the structure is currently under renovation. This weekend, you can join Untapped New York as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the World’s Fair with advocates at the forefront of the Pavilion’s restoration efforts.

This tour on April 21st (one day before the official opening date of the fair) is free for Untapped New York Insiders! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today with promo code JOINUS and get your first month free! On this tour, we’ll visit remnants of the fair throughout Flushing Meadows Corona Park that are not included on our regular World’s Fair Remnants Tour route. We’ll also get special access to Queens Theatre, formally known as Theaterama, another piece of the Pavilion.

60th Anniversary World’s Fairs Tour

Queens Theatre, a remnant of the 1964 World's Fair

On our special anniversary tour, guests will hear from People for the Pavilion (PFP) co-founder Salmaan Khan and founding members of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project. People for the Pavilion is a volunteer-run 501(c)3 non-profit organization that raises awareness of the “historic value of the New York State Pavilion and its potential to serve as a vibrant and functional public space” through various public programs, events, and communications. The Paint Project is a grassroots crew that has been painting and maintaining the structure since November 2009.

The Tent of Tomorrow is one piece of the New York State Pavilion, which also includes three observation towers, known as the Astro-View Towers, and the Theaterama. During the fair, guests could ride an elevator to the top of the towers and take in sweeping views of New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean. Theaterama was covered in modern artworks by famous names like Robert IndianaRoy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. The most impressive piece, however, was the Tent of Tomorrow.

Paint Crew at the New York State Pavilion

From the floor to the multi-colored roof, the structure was awe-inspiring. On the ground, visitors walked over a giant map of New York State made of 567 terrazzo mosaic panels. Sponsored by Texaco, the map covered 9,000 square feet and cost $1 million. Only a few tiles remain. Floating above fairgoers, the Tent was covered by a canopy of multi-colored acrylic square panels. The cable-suspended roof was encircled by a bright steel ring painted “American Cheese Yellow.” There are no more panels covering the Tent today.

Once the fair closed, the Pavilion served briefly as an outdoor concert venue that hosted acts like The Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, Santana, the Grateful Dead, and Led Zeppelin. It was also temporarily a roller skating rink. However. the structures quickly began to deteriorate and were closed for safety reasons. Over the ensuing decades, the Pavilion became a mysterious but familiar feature of the Queens skyline. The buildings had starring roles in films like Men in Black, but still, their fate was never certain and there was no public access.

New York State Pavilion

Today, the New York State Pavilion is currently the subject of a massive restoration project. The project broke ground in 2019 and the first major phase was completed in 2023 when New Yorkers saw the Pavilion light up for the first time. The scope of the restoration project includes extensive structural preservation work as well as cosmetic enhancements. It is the first major effort to restore the site since it was abandoned.

Join us on Sunday to learn more about the current state and future of the New York State Pavilion and peek inside more off-limits New York City sites by watching Unforgotten Films on Youtube where you can explore more places like Hart Island and the abandoned sections of Ellis Island!

60th Anniversary World’s Fairs Tour

Observation Towers at the New York State Pavilion

Next, check out Secrets of the New York State Pavilion