The city may spend $43M to preserve the New York State Pavilion

Almost half a century after it was built, NYC Parks is figuring out what to do with the 1964 structure—and tearing it down doesn’t look likely

New York State Pavilion

New York State Pavilion Photograph: Jonathan Reich

When the World's Fair was hosted in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in 1964, the New York Pavillion was one of the main attractions, second only the Unisphere. As the 50-year anniversary of the fair quickly approaches, a debate on what exactly to do with the iconic trio of towers rages on.

Though the three structures—standing at 60 feet, 150 feet and 256 feet—may now strike onlookers as a family of smaller and clunkier Space Needles (an architectural wonder made for the 1962 World's Fair), they were once seen as a vision of the future. Now, the decaying attraction, which hasn’t been opened for decades, is considered an eyesore by many locals. But while the aesthetic of placing a cafeteria in a cylinder on top of a tall tube has yet to take off in the way people in the '60s believed it would, it hasn’t lost its charm among some admirers; many Queens residents and architecture enthusiasts have called for the NYC Parks Department to restore, and possibly reopen, the rusty quinquagenarian.

A group called “People for the Pavilion,” which has nearly 3,000 followers on Facebook, aims for the relic to be used as a community space. Others believe the towers are simply too historically important to let die. Melinda Katz, the new Queens borough president, is also on board with preserving them; as reported by The New York Times, she wants to do "whatever it takes" to keep the "architectural marvel" standing. 

Most folks in favor of demolishing the Pavilion cite the shockingly high price tag of preserving history; while it would cost $14 million to demolish the site, restoring would cost $43 million and reopening could cost $53 million or more. That’s a whole lot of change for the NYC Parks Department to find.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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