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New York State Pavilion

United States of America
Project Resources

The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair (NYWF), with over 51 million attendees, was the last of the ‘great’ Fairs held in the United States. For the price of a $2.00 admissions ticket, a Fairgoer could glimpse into the nation’s history, discover art from around the world, view advances in science and technology and peer into the future, all in one compact locale. Many of the technologies we enjoy today, or the foundations that made them possible, were showcased at the 1964-65 NYWF. Dramatic examples of “tomorrow’s” architecture could also be found –for example, the Bell System Pavilion’s “Floating Wing” and the slanting canopy of the General Motors Pavilion. But no pavilion beckoned to the future more than the New York State Pavilion with its “Tent of Tomorrow” and observation towers that could have served as a home to George Jetson and family. Designed by noted 20th Century American Architect Philip Johnson, the New York State Pavilion welcomed the world to New York. The Three components that comprised the Pavilion – the Tent of Tomorrow, Astro-View Towers, and Theaterama – showcased all that the State of New York had to offer. While the pavilion was designated as one of only a handful that would remain upon the Fair’s close in October 1965, its future use was still uncertain. The Tent of Tomorrow served briefly as a roller rink with skaters gliding over the pavilion’s massive terrazzo map depicting New York State. As the 1970s wore on, the Tent of Tomorrow’s colorful fiberglass roof panels were removed, leaving the area open to the elements. The abandoned Astro-View Towers became little more than a navigational signpost, signaling to drivers along the Long Island Expressway that the exit to the Grand Central Parkway was fast approaching. Time and weather have assisted in deteriorating aspects of the once grand structure, and it was added to the World’s Mouments Fund watch list in 2008. Debate continues to cloud the Pavilion’s ultimate fate. Should it be demolition at an estimated cost of $14 million or restoration and repurposing at $52 million? A group of dedicated citizens are seeking the latter. In April 2014, the New York State Pavilion was named a ‘National Treasure’ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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