Long Awaited Ground-Breaking for the Reconstruction of the New York State Pavilion Observation Towers at Flushing Meadows Corona Park




Photo credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens Community Board 7 Parks Chair Kim Ohanian, and members of People for the Pavilion, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy and Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, to break ground on the reconstruction of the New York State Pavilion Observation Towers.

“The New York State Pavilion is an iconic symbol of the 1964 World’s Fair that keeps us connected to our city’s rich history,” saidCommissioner Silver. “We are excited to restore this historic structure for the enjoyment of New Yorkers and visitors. Thanks to funding from Borough President Katz, Mayor de Blasio, and Council Member Moya, this treasured landmark will continue to serve as a symbol of Queens for generations to come.”

Ground breaking. Photo credit:Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

“The work we are breaking ground on today will go a long way toward restoring the iconic New York State Pavilion to its former glory,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This work will enable future generations to continue to enjoy the Pavilion’s distinctive Space Age architecture and be reminded about the important role the 1964-65 World’s Fair played in Queens history. It has been a privilege to work with our partners in government to preserve the Pavilion.”

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver at Ground Breaking. Photo Credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

This project will preserve the iconic structure and add dynamic architectural lighting to enhance the New York State Pavilion experience. Work will include waterproofing of the tower bases, stair replacement, electrical upgrades and structural conservation work on the observation towers. The $24 million project is funded by a $13.1 million allocation from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, $9 million from Mayor Bill de Blasio, and $1.9 million from Council Member Francisco Moya.

Photo credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The New York State Pavilion was constructed for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Designed by Philip Johnson, the “Tent of Tomorrow” measures 350 feet by 250 feet, with sixteen 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000 square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. The popular exhibit also held three towers, measuring 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet. The two shorter towers held cafeterias for the fair, and the tallest tower, as the highest point of the fair, held an observation deck. The New York State Pavilion also included the adjacent “Theaterama,” which exhibited pop art works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The space was converted to the Queens Playhouse in 1972 and continued to operate until 1985.

Photo credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks


Parks announced recently the agency completed 648 capital projects since Commissioner Silver joined the agency in 2014: the administration has taken on more projects and has completed them faster—nearly 90% completed on budget and 85% on time. Through this, the agency has provided everyday New Yorkers access to 205 improved playgrounds and sports courts; 102 reconstructed paths & plazas; 39 new comfort stations; 36 athletic fields; and the agency has addressed infrastructure at 24 of its piers, waterfronts and retaining walls (and much more). Parks’ 10-year capital budget is $5.2 billion—the completed projects over the past five years represents a $1.3 billion investment.

NYC Parks’ capital division of nearly 500 staff, including more than 100 landscape architects, manages its capital projects from start to finish; designing approximately 70% of its landscape architecture projects in-house—of the 648 projects completed, 410 were landscape projects. Currently, the agency is managing 618 active capital projects: 149 are in construction; 246 are in procurement and 178 are in design.