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Thread: New York State Pavilion (1964 World's Fair) - by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster

  1. #91
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Documentarian Rallies To Save Decrepit World's Fair Pavilion

    by Hana R. Alberts


    [Photo by Marco Cantini via the Facebook group People for the New York State Pavilion.]

    One decaying remnant of the 1964-1965 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has found an advocate: 27-year-old Matthew Silva, a teacher who is making a documentary about the New York State Pavilion. A round structure with a ceiling of wired spokes designed by modernist architect Philip Johnson that also has two observation towers protruding above, what was once a retro-futuristic exhibition with a map of the roads of New York State at its base is now gray and full of cracks. Reincarnated briefly as a roller rink in the 1970s, it now stands abandoned—"a modern ruin," as Silva calls it. In time for the fair's 50th anniversary in April 2014, he is campaigning to save it via his in-progress documentary under his label Aquarela Pictures (all chronicled on his blog), plus rallying support via Facebook and Twitter. Silva is about halfway to his $5,000 fundraising goal, money to help him travel across the country for interviews.

    In the video on his GoFundMe page (embedded below), Silva interviews Queens native and pavilion fan Nick Hirshon. "It's really sad when you look of photos and video of how it looked during the fair. It's magical. It looks so whimsical, all lit up—you can see if being the Eiffel Tower of Queens," he says. "I don't think it would be that hard to sell it as a museum or a restaurant or some kind of other use." A lack of vision on the part of officials at the time, like Robert Moses, is blamed for the pavilion's dormancy, as is a lack of initiative by every mayor since.

    One advocate, who has been writing to officials asking if anything can be done to reinvent the building, posted a response from the administrator of Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Facebook, which says that the Parks department has done two structural surveys of the site to figure out its condition, and even tapped architecture firm Perkins + Will to explore "possible adaptive reuse scenarios for the NYS Pavilion Towers and Tent of Tomorrow, including obtaining the community's input on potential future uses."

    Silva updates interested parties on his latest efforts, including his most recent interview subjects, including Joe Tirella, the author of an upcoming book about the World's Fair, who agrees that the pavilion needs to be repurposed and not just treated as "a remnant of another age." "Absolutely I think it's worth preserving. It's an architectural treasure. But they haven't done anything with it. Hopefully it's not too late," Tirella told Silva on camera. "It's basically the symbol of what's wrong with New York, and what continues to be wrong with New York, and how we continue to let our waterfronts, our artistic treasures, and our architectural treasures rot." This summer Silva plans to interview architect Robert Stern, historian of art and architecture John Kriskiewicz, and architecture critic Paul Goldberger.













    [Photos via Facebook.]
    New York State Pavilion Documentary [GoFundMe]
    People for the New York State Pavilion [Facebook]
    Filmmaker Hopes Documenting Decaying Queens Landmark Can Help Save It [DNAinfo via Queens Crap]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/0...ilion.php#more

  2. #92

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    I gotta think there's a lot better use for that park space. The last time that structure was useful was when I was born. It's time to get rid of it, and use that space for something the park users would want.

  3. #93

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    were'nt these structures designed and built to be torn down after the World's Fair? Some 50 years ago?

  4. #94
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Yes.

  5. #95
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Ruins of the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

    by Will Ellis


    The empty observation towers of the New York Pavilion hover over Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

    In Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the oddball ruins of the “Tent of Tomorrow” are fading into yesterday. This land had been home to the Corona Ash Dumps—immortalized as the “valley of ashes” in The Great Gatsby—until master builder Robert Moses set out to transform the area by selecting it as the site of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. While the overall design of the park was laid out for the ’39 event, its most evident landmarks date back to the ’64 exhibition. The Space Age design of the New York Pavilion was intended to inspire visitors with the promise of the future, but today it serves to firmly plant the structure in the context of the 1960s.


    The tallest tower was the highest point in the fair at 226 feet.

    Concieved by New York businessmen and funded by private financing, the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair was once again headed by Robert Moses, who saw the project as an opportunity to complete his vision for Flushing Meadows Park. In order to make the fair financially feasible, organizers charged rent to exhibitors and ran the attraction for two years, ignoring the regulations of the Bureau of International Expositions. As a result, the BIE refused to sanction the fair and instructed its forty member nations not to participate, which included Canada, most of the European nations, Australia, and the Soviet Union.


    Faint remnants of bright yellow paint can still be spotted on the metal components of the structure.

    The fair was dedicated to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe,” but the majority of exhibitors were American companies. Some of the most popular destinations included General Motors’ “Futurama” exhibit, Disney’s original “It’s A Small World” attraction, and a model panorama of New York City (which you can still visit at the Queens Museum of Art). Although over 51 million people attended the fair, the turnout was far less than expected. The project ended in financial failure, returning only 20 cents on the dollar to bond investors.


    The observation decks were re-imagined as spaceships in the original Men In Black film.

    Most of the World’s Fair pavilions were temporary constructions that were demolished within six months of closing, but a few were deemed worthy of becoming permanent fixtures of the park. Once the centerpiece of the fair, the 12-story high stainless steel Unisphere has gone on to become a widely recognized symbol of Queens. Designed by notable modernist architect Philip Johnson, the nearby observation towers and the “Tent of Tomorrow” remain striking examples of the futurist architecture the fair embraced. Unfortunately, they’ve sat empty for decades, and are starting to show their age. In the Tent of Tomorrow, space that once hosted live concerts and exciting demonstrations are occupied by stray cats and unsettling numbers of raccoons.


    The Tent of Tomorrow once held the record as the largest cable suspension roof in the world.

    The pavilion was reopened as the “Roller Round Skating Rink” in 1970, but roof tiles soon became unstable and the city ordered the attraction to close by 1974. Owing to their singular design, the structures have found their way into the background of many feature films, television shows, and music videos, including a memorable turn as a location and plot element for the original Men in Black. You can still make out the design of the pavilion’s main floor—modeled after a New York state highway map—in this late ’80s They Might Be Giants video.

    The New York State Pavilion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, and a group of preservationists have helped clean up the exterior, restoring a bit of the original color scheme. As we near the 50th anniversary of the ’64 World’s Fair, here’s hoping something can be done to put these unique structures back to use.


    A group of preservationists have restored the original paint job on the structure’s exterior.


    Vines, and a not entirely incongruous robot head, have been affixed to this tower.

    http://untappedcities.com/2013/07/25...rona-park-nyc/

  6. #96

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    Preserving crumbling World’s Fair icon could cost at least $43M

    Parks Department outlines options for the New York State Pavilion . One option, for $17M, calls for tearing it down.



    By Lisa L. Colangelo / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 12:11 PM
    Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 3:39 PM




    Good old days: Visitors poured into the New York State Pavilion during the 1964-65 World’s Fair to walk atop the massive map of the state. The site has deteriorated in recent decades and new engineering reports say it would cost about $43 million to preserve — plus another $10 million to restore it to its glory.

    The city needs $52 million to save the New York State Pavilion and restore the deteriorating iconic ruin of the 1964-65 World’s Fair to its original glory, officials revealed Monday night.
    But tearing it down would cost just $14 million.
    Parks Department officials told outgoing Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, elected officials and community board leaders that they have not decided what to do with the structure, which includes the Tent of Tomorrow and three observation towers that have been shuttered for decades.

    “They are in need of repair but they are not immediately falling down,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “So we have time to have some really reasonable dialogue.”
    Renowned architect Philip Johnson designed the soaring structure for the fair — and the design still cuts an impressive figure along the Grand Central Parkway.

    David Handschuh/New York Daily News

    Today, the pavilion is a rusting relic of the Space Age 1960s.


    The tallest tower stretches over 220 feet high and 16, 100-foot columns support the massive steel and concrete canopy.
    During its heyday, the glass-covered pavilion hosted various exhibits. It is most famous for the 567-panel terrazzo map of New York State embedded in its floor.
    “There’s nothing else like it,” said Christian Doran of People for the Pavilion, a group trying to raise public awareness of the site.

    “It can provide a cultural and economic benefit to the city if repurposed properly,” he added. “The park was built for the World’s Fair and it is a completely unique structure that deserves to be saved.”
    Lewandowski said the city’s new report on the site includes several engineering studies and ambitious conceptual plan that could cost at least $72 million.

    David Handschuh/New York Daily News

    The city says it would only cost $17 million to tear down the relic, but preservationists would howl.


    Other options include shoring up the site so it could remain as a ruin similar to the 19th century smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island for a cost of $43 million.
    Workers would not only need to strengthen the structure, but remove toxic lead paint and PCBs in the epoxy floor.
    Flushing Meadows Corona Park Administrator Janice Melnick said she will hold several meetings early next year to let the public weigh in with ideas for the site.

    “It’s a really great time to put focus on this with the anniversary of the World’s Fair coming up,” she said.
    Doran and others would like the pavilion renovated into an event space. After the fair ended, it hosted concerts by Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead and was used as a roller rink.
    It was also used in the 1978 movie version of “The Wiz” featuring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, and the groundbreaking “Don’t Let’s Start” music video by They Might be Giants.
    lcolangelo@nydailynews.com


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz2l83KUxfB

  7. #97

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    As predicted, they let the thing rot and rot for years, when the work was cheaper to do and smaller in scope. Now when they do get around to looking at it, they can go, "oh, to save it costs 5x as removing it"

    This was their plan all along. Demolition was always what was wanted.

  8. #98
    Senior Member DUMBRo's Avatar
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    I remember when these structures were seen as emblematic of the city's decline...40 YEARS AGO.

  9. #99

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    They need to save these and hopefully use them for a new fair. They are irreplaceable landmarks of a grand past event and are extremely recognizable even today. During the Iron Man 2 movie, they are seen as part of the "Stark Expo" and several people yelled out, "I was there!!!" at a movie theater in Freehold, NJ.

  10. #100
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LemSkroob View Post
    As predicted, they let the thing rot and rot for years, when the work was cheaper to do and smaller in scope. Now when they do get around to looking at it, they can go, "oh, to save it costs 5x as removing it"

    This was their plan all along. Demolition was always what was wanted.
    It's very unfortunate that so much time has elapsed before the required action to preserve this wonderful monument was taken. If it's demolished, even though it's cheaper in dollar terms, we'd have nothing. Spending the greater amount will result in something -- something that everyone can enjoy in the future and a fitting remembrance for those who saw it and loved it in 1964. It's potentially so adaptable as well.

  11. #101
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    Parks Dept. Forums Will Decide New York State Pavilion's Fate

    by Zoe Rosenberg


    Photo by Marco Cantini via the Facebook group People for the New York State Pavilion.

    It's been a long time coming: After nearly 50 years of neglect, the city is taking action to determine the future of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park 1964 World's Fair New York State Pavilion. The Pavilion, designed by architect Philip Johnson and comprised of the Tent of Tomorrow and its three 100-foot-tall modernist observation towers, has fallen into rusty ruin over the past several decades. The Parks Department will be sponsoring three town-hall style meetings this Sunday and Tuesday at the Queens Theatre to present findings from their two studies conducted between 2009 and 2012, which offer suggestions on how to mitigate the effects of several decades of neglect.

    The Parks Department will present three options: tear down the structures, stabilize them, or restore them for future use. None of these options are without a hefty price tag, with an estimated cost of $14 million to demolish the structres, and upwards of $70 million to restore them. "It would be an act of architectural vandalism to tear it down," the NYDN quotes "Tomorrow-Land" author Joseph Tirella. "It's part of New York City's legacy." The structures continue to be fodder for media. Matthew Silva of grassroots pro-preservation group People for the Pavilion is working on a documentary about the aging structures called Modern Ruin. Silva will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund his efforts. Check out the trailer below, which offers some more insight into its history.

    Parks Plans Public Sessions to Discuss Crumbling World's Fair Site [DNAinfo]
    New York State Pavilion gets ready for its close-up in 2014 [NYDN]
    Organization kicks off campaign to save New York State Pavilion [Times Ledger]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/0..._fate.php#more

  12. #102

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    At least one person in power is thinking things through.

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz promises New York State Pavilion is safe from wrecking ball


    Melinda Katz and other officials tour World's Fair relic and pledge it will not be torn down

    By Lisa L. Colangelo / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Friday, February 7, 2014, 10:00 AM




    Christie M Farriella/for New York Daily News

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz inside the deteriorated New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Katz has promised to work with civic groups and elected officials to find a brighter future for the site.

    The New York State Pavilion won’t be torn down on Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s watch.
    Katz took a tour of the crumbling World’s Fair relic on Thursday afternoon with a group of elected officials and civic leaders.
    “The right direction is to preserve this, to save this for generations to come," she said. "And to make it a useful part of the park and to make sure it doesn't fall down on people around it."

    Katz’s position is in stark contrast to her predecessor Helen Marshall who told the News in 2008 the structure is unsafe and should be demolished.
    “This was a significant site,” said Katz, “This was the site of the World’s Fair. This is Queens.”
    She plans to create a task force to focus on the pavilion and bring together supporters.


    The Parks Department released an engineering report in late 2013 showing it would cost about $43 million too stabilize the site as a modern ruin, $53 million to restore it to its World’s Fair glory and $72 million to turn it into a high concept multi-use facility.
    It would cost just $14 million to tear it down.

    Christie M Farriella/for New York Daily News

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (2nd from L) gives a tour of the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park with (LtoR) Assemblywoman Marge Markey, Assemblyman Micheal Simanowitz and Councilman Rory Lancman. Katz promised the World’s Fair icon will not be torn down.


    Katz and Janice Melnick, the administrator of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, said the concensus of elected officials and residents is that the structure should never be dismantled.

    “In my 30 years in parks I have never seen such unanimous support,” said Melnick. “Everyone wants it to be preserved.”
    Architect Philip Johnson designed the massive structure which includes the Tent of Tomorrow, a 350 foot-by 250-foot space supported by sixteen 100-foot columns. Three adjoining towers, which once housed a restaurant and observation deck, stand 60 feet, 150-feet and 226 feet.

    Matthew Silva and Christian Doran, two fans of the site, helped spark recent interest. Their group, People for the Pavilion, tapped into a passionate group of art lovers, World’s Fair enthusiasts and historic preservationists.

    “We’re really excited,” said Silva, who is also making a documentary of the pavilion titled “Modern Ruin.”
    Silva’s campaign on Kickstarter to fund the film has been successful - further evidence of support for the pavilion.
    “It’s really nice to know the borough president and our organization are completely on the same page,” he said.

    Jean Silva of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy said the rusting marks along the pavilion signal its age but are no reason to give up on it.
    “It sits there strong as ever saying, ‘Hey guys, I’m here. Come back to me,’” she said.


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz2sfmkAJZc

  13. #103

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    I feel like there is finally momentum to get something done here. It'd be spectacular to see this thing get brought back to life.

  14. #104
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    I sure hope she succeeds.

    And that it doesn't take too many months and just holding meetings.

    The borough president said her office will soon start to hold monthly task force meetings for the project.

    Katz recommends preserving Pavilion during tour of World’s Fair site

    By Alex Robinson
    February 6, 2014

    Borough President Melinda Katz joined an activist-driven push to return the long neglected New York State Pavilion to its former glory Thursday.

    “The right direction is to preserve and save this for generations to come, to make it a useful part of the park,” Katz said to a group of elected officials, community leaders and Parks Department employees at Queens Theatre in the Park, before leading them on a walk through the grounds of the site of the 1964 World’s Fair.

    The Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson and is comprised of three observation towers, the largest of which is 226 feet high.

    Katz led the group past the towers and into the Tent of Tomorrow, which has 16 100-foot pillars that one-time supported a 50,000-square-foot roof. That area is now closed off to the public.

    “Going into it, hearing all the stories and standing inside, there are no words to describe it. You’re looking at history,” said Jean Silva, president of Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy, who recalled attending the 1964 World’s Fair when she was 20.

    The Pavilion closed down after the World’s Fair and intermittently served as a concert venue, roller skating rink and a movie set. It appeared in “Men in Black” and “The Wiz,” among other films.
    It sat rusting for decades until a recent push by a new preservation group called People for the Pavilion made the structure a topic of conversation again.

    The group started through a network that co-founder Matthew Silva built while making a documentary that chronicled the history of the structure.

    “Not many preservation efforts start with a film. Film as a medium is very powerful,” Silva said. “Between social media and the film effort, it’s helped raise the profile very quickly.”

    More than 200 people attended the group’s first meeting Jan. 25, organizers said.

    “I kind of can’t believe how quickly things are progressing and it’s great to know the borough president is on the same page as us in terms of certainly wanting to save it,” Silva said.

    The city Parks Department held three brainstorming sessions of their own recently, which 75 people attended.

    “Overwhelmingly, everyone wanted to see it preserved. They didn’t all necessarily agree on how it should be done, but they all agreed it should be preserved,” said Janice Melnick, the park administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

    Parks Department officials recently released estimates of $14 million to demolish the Pavilion and more than $52 million to preserve it.

    Katz said $14 million should not be used to tear the Pavilion down and if anything could be used as a base in the preservation initiative.

    “I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I or any or the elected officials know exactly what we want to do here. I think the one thing we want this to be is a collaborative effort through all of the community groups,” Katz said. “It’s not going to happen in a day, but if we don’t start the process, it’s never going to happen.”

    The borough president said her office will soon start to hold monthly task force meetings for the project.

    http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2...4_02_06_q.html

  15. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcman210 View Post
    I feel like there is finally momentum to get something done here. It'd be spectacular to see this thing get brought back to life.
    Well if she and the other officials who are on board with her can can enlist more soldiers in the fight, they'll get it done. I like the better idea of renovating it for future use, rather than renovating it just as an outdoor museum piece. A place like that should have life flowing through it.

    There was a story in a book I have (trying to find it), about a young man who worked there, and all the drama (and melodrama) behind the scenes, particularly with visiting dignitaries. Will post when I find it. In the meantime:



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