Image: NYC Design Awards.
Designed by starchitect Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair to embody the architectural essence of Space Age futurism, the New York State Pavilion, has, in the ensuing decades, become what amNY called a “hulking 54-year-old relic of the World’s Fair,” though it has never lost its modernist cachet and has gained value as an historic ruin of sorts. Recently, talk of restoring the pavilion beyond its current inglorious purgatory slowly appears to be moving toward actual plans with funding attached. City officials and preservationists have secured $14 million for specific repairs and improvements to the pavilion.
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Photo via Wikimedia
For two six-month seasons in 1964, the World’s Fair came to Queens, with exhibits featured from over 80 nations spread across 646 acres. The fair came at a time of mid-20th-century innovation and culture, at the height of the Space Age. It served as a moment of peace before the start of the Vietnam War, with its motto “Peace Through Understanding.” And while many New Yorkers attended the historic event, or have heard stories recounted by parents and grandparents, it’s hard to imagine what it was truly like to experience.
Making it easier to understand what the World’s Fair was really like, the city’s parks department is offering free, monthly tours of the park, allowing visitors to hear the stories behind the Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion and many more landmarks.
More than 50 years after the 1964-65 World’s Fair was held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fountains leading up to the iconic Unisphere will be returned to their former glory. amNY first got word that the currently dilapidated Fountain of the Fairs would undergo a $5 million renovation next year. Renderings from Quennell Rothschild & Partners show a Fog Garden, a walkway filled with misting fountains, as well as a children’s water park and another plaza for outdoor performances, all of which will be lined with new landscaping and seating.
More details and renderings
Yesterday, 6sqft shared some of the best and wackiest proposals from an ideas competition reimagining Philip Johnson‘s iconic New York State Pavilion. Built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, it’s struggled in recent years to find financial support, and the competition is a way to drum up enthusiasm for the necessary $52 restoration.
The ideas ranged from the expected (elevated parks, event spaces) to the socially conscious (refugee housing, a homeless shelter) to the totally out there (a cheeseburger museum, a UFO landing pad). And while a new incarnation for the historic site would certainly draw visitors and interest, is that the appropriate way to honor the cultural and architectural merit of a structure that was built for a specific purpose at a very special point in time? Plus, preservationists have already secured close to $6 million for repairs, and the structure got a $3 million paint job last year.
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Philip Johnson‘s iconic New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, but has struggled in recent decades to find its purpose. Because of its architectural and cultural merit, however, preservations have made great strides in the past several years: a restoration task force secured $5.8 million for repairs in 2014; it received a $3 million paint job last fall; and now it’s creating quite the buzz thanks to an ideas competition put on by the the National Trust for Historic Preservation and People for the Pavilion (h/t WSJ).
The competition, which organizers hope could help drum up enough enthusiasm to aid in the $52 million total restoration, has drawn more than 250 submission, including wacky ideas like a cheeseburger museum, a giant time-telling machine, and a UFO landing pad to more practical functions like a brewery, hanging gardens, live-work space for artists, and event venues.
See some of the entries here
Image: Fort Greene Park Conservancy
The city has announced plans to make eight of the city’s parks more welcoming and integrated into their surrounding neighborhoods, the New York Times reports. According to officials, the green-space face-lifts are part of a plan to improve city parks and part of the larger goal of having 85 percent of New Yorkers living within walking distance of a park.
The parks, chosen by a nomination process that used feedback from residents, include Seward Park on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Faber Pool and Park on the North Shore of Staten Island, Jackie Robinson Park in northern Manhattan, Van Cortlandt Park and Hugh Grant Circle and Virginia Park in the Bronx, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, and Fort Greene and Prospect Parks in Brooklyn. According to parks commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, the many improvement suggestions the city received were “proof positive of how excited New Yorkers are to increase accessibility and openness in their favorite parks.”
Find out more about the park plans
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
Yesterday it was announced that the team behind Coachella, the wildly popular California desert music fest, was eyeing Flushing Meadows Corona Park for a possible NYC outpost as early as next year. Tentatively called Panorama (after the actual panorama of the city from the 1964 World’s Fair in the Queens Museum), the plans are drawing concern from other local music events, most notably Governors Ball, the city’s only three-day music fest, which brought in $40 million in benefits for the city in 2014. Panorama would take place just two weeks after Governors Ball, possibly taking away its performers, as well as city revenue. Others are simply concerned about the crowds and debauchery, but we want to know your thoughts.
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