Photo via Wiki Commons
US Open fever has once again swept the city, and though nowadays it’s all Venus and Serena and craft beers and lobster rolls, there’s a long history behind the world-famous event. Here, 6sqft takes a look at how the international tournament made its way from an elite, private club in Newport Rhode Island, to Forest Hills’ West Side Tennis Club, and finally to its current home in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, even uncovering a little connection to the 1964 World’s Fair.
All the tennis history right this way
Photo courtesy of Gregory Fournier
The world’s largest tire, the Uniroyal Giant Tire, reached 80 feet high and weighed 20 tons when it debuted as a Ferris wheel at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. First located in Flushing, Queens, the towering tire was commissioned by the Uniroyal Tire Company and designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the same architectural firm behind the Empire State Building. During its time at the fair, the tire carried over two million passengers, including Jacqueline Kennedy and her children, Telly Savalas, and the Shah of Iran. Each ride cost just $0.25 and would last 10 minutes.
How did the tire end up in Detroit?
In a rare case, the RKO Keith’s Flushing Theater is an interior landmark, but the building it’s inside is not landmarked. Built in 1928 to the designs of noted theater architect Thomas Lamb, the elaborately ornamented Churrigueresque-style movie palace has sat decrepit for the past three decades, until Chinese firm Xinyuan Real Estate (they’re also behind Williamsburg’s Oosten condo and the forthcoming Hell’s Kitchen condo that will be anchored by a Target) bought the vacant theater for $66 million last year with plans to develop it into a 269-unit luxury condo. Moving ahead with this vision, they’ve tapped Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and preservation specialists Ayon Studio to erect a 16-story glass tower at the site, which includes plans to “enclose the interior landmark, and to disassemble, restore off-site, and reinstall salvaged ornamental plasterwork and woodwork and replicas” in a new residential lobby. Despite some opposition from the Historic Districts Council (HDC) regarding public accessibility, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted in favor of the plan, congratulating the architects and expressing great admiration for their design.
More details ahead
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
The iconic New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is set to undergo a $14.25 million renovation funded by the city. As first reported by the Queens Chronicle, repairs of the monument will begin next spring, which will include some structural conservation work and electrical and architectural improvements. The pavilion, which was originally designed for the 1964 World’s Fair by Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin, has been ignored for the past few decades, largely in part because of the city’s failure to find the money for repairs.
Find out more
World’s Fair Terminal Station. Photo via Bill Cotter
There was, for a short time, a line of the IND (Independent) subway that was built for the 1939/1940 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the second most expansive American world’s fair of all time (second only to the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904). The event brought over 44 million people to the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park site. To make visting the fair more convenient, the city created a new dedicated subway line extension and terminal, then the only line owned by the city.
The extension began on a bridge (called a flying junction) running through Jamaica Yard near what is now the Forest Hills-71st Street stop on today’s M/R lines. The extension turned north along the east side of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park over a wooden trestle and ended at the newly-created World’s Fair Terminal Station, which had two tracks and three platforms. The two-mile addition cost $1.7 million to build.
Find out what happened
These days in New York, it’s hard to get very far without running into impossibly high price tags, whether it be for a luxury condo or a Brooklyn brownstone. And in this case, you can go very far–all the way to Flushing, a Queens neighborhood that’s close to Long Island–and you may still do a double-take at the pricing.
The property in question is a freestanding Colonial home at 40-27 166th Street, just a few blocks from the Broadway Long Island Railroad stop. Flushing may be known as New York’s second Chinatown, but this home is located in a much more suburban area, where the houses come with front lawns and garages. As for the price, it comes in at $1.15 million.
See the interior
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
After 8,000 hours and 1,600 gallons of paint, the New York State Pavilion’s Tent of Tomorrow is camera-ready for its spot on Open House New York Weekend. The Daily News reports that Philip Johnson‘s iconic World’s Fair structure in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is now sporting a fresh coat of “American Cheese Yellow” paint. The job “included power-washing off decades of rust, applying primer and the historically accurate paint while working on a platform suspended 100 feet in the air,” and it cost $3 million. It’ll certainly be all over Instagram tomorrow and Sunday, but some ambitious architecture lovers have already gotten up close to the landmark.
Have a look at the pictures here
While many welcome the opportunity to raise a family in the heart of New York City, others eventually seek the slower pace and solitude of the suburbs right around the time their first little bundle comes along. But part of the magic of the city we love is that you don’t ever have to venture outside of the five boroughs to find room to grow yet still be a hop, skip, and a jump from “civilization.”
One of those places is Forest Hills in Queens, and this lovingly maintained and beautifully renovated Colonial at 108-18 69th Road has all the space you need even if you don’t plan on sharing it with anyone else any time soon. At 2,000 square feet, it’s not too overwhelming for one or two, but has the requisite “room-to-grow” if a few new family members–or roommates–make an appearance.
See more of this beautiful home
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Last Friday, we journeyed to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for the Panorama Challenge at the Queens Museum. When the evening of trivia was over, we walked out into the park to find the Unisphere and the Museum, both World’s Fair relics, glowing. But in the distance, Philip Johnson‘s iconic New York State Pavilion was barely visible. That’s about to change, though, as electricians and preservationists have been testing new ways to illuminate the “modern ruin” for the first time in decades, according to the Daily News.
The update comes thanks to a wave of public support to restore the icon, as well as a renewed interest in its architectural merit and the history of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. As we wrote over the summer, the pavilion’s restoration task force secured $5.8 million for repairs, $4.2 million of which came from Mayor de Blasio. Now, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has pledged to get the site illuminated by the end of the year. “We will restore this national treasure into a visible icon befitting ‘The World’s Borough’ for generations of families and visitors to enjoy,” she said.
More details on the lighting project
When O’Neill Rose Architects was hired to build a family home in Flushing, Queens there was one small challenge–to “design three homes under one roof, in a neighborhood of Queens which is defined by single family homes.” The resulting Choy House is made of three disparate dwellings, connected and overlapping to reflect the relationships of the extended family–a husband (the client), wife, and two small children; the husband’s younger brother and his wife; and the brothers’ mother.
Details of the project ahead