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.
The anticipation was tremendous. Exactly 50 years ago today, the 1964 World’s Fair kicked off with an inauguration featuring a speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson. To commemorate this historic event today, NYC Parks opened the New York State Pavilion for three hours this afternoon. More than 5,000 spectators waited in line to see this remnant and take photos of the interior portion, where the Tent of Tomorrow once stood.
People started gathering around the NYS Pavilion as soon as the sun came up. The line stretched around the beloved structure.
By 11 am, patient and excited people were standing on the Grand Central Parkway’s overpass.
By 11:30 am, the queue went past the Queens Zoo and into its parking lot.
Those who waited got to see the inside of a structure once hosted Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones concerts.
Diana Ross and Michael Jackson danced around this mezzanine while filming The Wiz.
Borough President Melinda Katz wants to restore the NYS Pavilion, even though it would cost an estimated $75 million. What’s your opinion?
It’s a photo op, historic tour and urban spelunking activity. It’s also a celebration of the exact 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair. On April 22nd, the New York State Pavilion (above and below) will open to the public for three hours. Individuals will be able to put on hard hats (which will be provided and required), enter this remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair, and take photos of the interior portion, where the Tent of Tomorrow once stood. The New York State Pavilion Paint Project Crew will be on site to answer questions and talk about the structure’s past, present and future. Later, the Queens Theatre will present When the World Came to Queens, an exhibit featuring rare photos with behind-the-scenes anecdotes written by Bill Cotter, who has the world’s largest private collection of World’s Fair images. Cotter, a frequent attendee during the 1964-65 run, has also written several books, which he will be selling and autographing.
Details: Open Gate Event, meet at north entrance to NYS Pavilion, near Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, April 22nd, 11 am to 2 pm, free.
Bonus details: When the World Came to Queens, Queens Theatre, 14, United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, April 22nd, 3 pm and 7 pm, free with $10 suggested donation.
Photos: People for the Pavilion FB