Philip Johnson lovers rejoice! It was just announced that the city will put aside $5.8 million to restore the dilapidated crown jewel of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Funding for the restoration of the “Tent of Tomorrow” came via Mayor Bill de Blasio, who contributed $4.2 million to the project, while the rest was provided by the City Council and Borough President Melinda Katz. Katz has been a champion for restoring the iconic structure, even forming a task force of civic leaders to save the work. Efforts to restore the project will begin soon, but a bumpy road lies ahead…
“Along with the nearby Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion has become a symbol of the borough of Queens that reminds us of the excitement and hopefulness the world felt at the beginning of the Space Age,” Katz said. “The pavilion keeps us connected to that history, while it also serves as an icon of Queens that is recognized around the world. It’s preservation will aid our efforts to rebrand Queens as a top-level tourist destination that we call ‘The World’s Borough.’”
Unfortunately, even with $6 million now in hand, it’s been estimated by the Parks Department that fully restoring the pavilion for public use would total around $72 million — $20 million for the observation towers and $31+ million for the ring structure alone. The newly acquired funds will go toward fixing the electrical system and repairing the observation-deck platforms and staircases. As for the rest? We can only hope that a wealthy lover of mid-century modernism will rise to the call.
Images via Wikicommons