It was one of the most memorable venues of the 1964 World’s Fair. Designed by legendary architect Philip Johnson, the New York State Pavilion featured the elliptical Tent of Tomorrow, whose 16 100-foot-high reinforced concrete piers suspended a 50,000-square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. The main floor featured a ground map of New York State with 567 terrazzo mosaic panels.
Meanwhile, the Theaterama, located adjacent to the pavilion, displayed art by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and the three nearby observation towers boasted elevators leading to high-altitude platforms.
After the fair, the pavilion became a concert venue, hosting such major bands as Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. It then served as a roller rink during the 1970s, when parts of The Wiz were filmed there. However, the structure slowly fell into disrepair, and it is currently closed to the public.
On May 22 and May 23, the Queens Theatre will host the world premiere screenings of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion. By AquaRela Pictures, this documentary chronicles the venue’s history, including the recent efforts to save and repurpose the site. The movie’s directors and producers will attend, and there will be a pre-screening cocktail hour to chat with them.
Details: Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, May 22, 7 pm for cocktail hour, 8 pm for screening, May 23, 3 pm, $15.
Photo by Marco Catini Photography