World’s Fair fountains in Flushing Meadows will get a $5M revamp

February 13, 2018

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.

Unisphere Fountain at the 1964 World’s Fair via Wikimedia

The fountains were part of Robert Moses’ overall World’s Fair plan back in the ’60s. They were “designed to cascade from the Unisphere to the Rocket Thrower statue,” describes amNY, and held light and water shows during the Fair. After falling into disrepair and disuse, they started running again in 2000 after another renovation, “but broke within a few years and were later damaged in flooding from superstorm Sandy.” Then, in 2015, the Department of Parks and Recreation began holding community meetings to determine how the space should be reimagined, from which they learned most people wanted more water components.

The Unisphere today via Wikimedia

The Parks Department hopes that by reinstating water features at the Fountain of the Fairs, people will be less inclined to wade in the Unisphere fountain, which is supposed to be merely decorative.

As QRP describes on their site:

During Phase One, the Reflecting Pool will be reconstructed as an interactive fog garden whose ephemeral, cooling cloud will refresh visitors on hot summer days. Following community requests, the pool will retain its 1964 footprint, and new paving will reference the Art Deco style of 1939 New York. Future phases will turn the Center Fountain into a performance space surrounded by tiered seating, and the Large Fountain into an interactive water play environment.  Playful spray showers will reference the arching jets that lined the pool during the 1943 World’s Fair.  The Fountain of the Planets plaza, softened and shaded with new plantings, will accommodate food trucks.

The project is the first phase of the Alliance for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park‘s park-wide renovation. The promenade at Meadow Lake is currently under construction, and the World’s Fair Playground’s asphalt and the World’s Fair Marina will also be revamped. Earlier this month, a request for bids was issued for renovation and stabilization work at the New York State Pavilion. Design work for the Fountain of the Fairs wrapped up in December followed by a procurement period that’s expected to finish this September. Construction will then take 12-18 months.

In the meantime, you can visit the World’s Fare--an event that will feature over 100 food vendors from more than 100 cultures, as well as live music and art–at the World’s Fair site this spring. You can also learn more about World’s Fair history on an MAS walking tour in April.

[Via amNY]


Renderings courtesy of Quennell Rothschild & Partners

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