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The lights are back on at the NYS Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Apr. 17, 2023 By Bill Parry

With the first phase of the $24 million structural repair work on the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park completed, NYC Parks on April 15 flipped the switch on the newly added dynamic architectural lighting, illuminating the Pavilion’s Tent of Tomorrow and Towers “Parks Green” to mark the occasion.

The new architectural lights on the towers and tent will now be lit every night, seven days a week, and follow a specific schedule for holidays and special events.

“Perhaps the most iconic landmark in our parks system, the NYS Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a reminder of our city’s historic past and a beacon towards the future,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said. “As we light the Towers and Tent of Tomorrow in celebration of the completion of this stabilization and lighting work, we look forward to further renovations on the Pavilion to help ensure this landmark continues to inspire and delight visitors for decades to come.”

(NYC Parks/Daniel Avila)

The scope of the work at the Pavilion included the replacement of the deteriorated suspension cables, repairs to spalling concrete at the observation towers, replacement of the at-grade concrete plaza slab and repair of the historic concrete piers and fencing at the plaza level. A full electrical upgrade to the towers replaced conduits installed in the 1960s and new waterproofing protects the new electrical system. The observation stairs were replaced, to provide access for maintenance.

“This is a major milestone in the effort to once again make the NYS Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pavilion a popular public space,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Along with brightening our skies, the lighting of the pavilion will brighten the hearts of Queens residents both young and old, especially those who have fond memories of attending the 1964 World’s Fair. Thanks to this important restoration work, new generations of residents and visitors will be able to make memories when they visit this iconic and brilliantly illuminated structure.”

The $24 million project is funded by a $13.1 million allocation from the Office of the Queens Borough President, $9 million from the mayor’s office and $1.9 million from the City Council.

(Photo by Bill Parry)

“Well-deserved congratulations and recognition to everyone involved in the repair of the NYS Pavilion Towers,” Councilman Francisco Moya said. “This masterful piece of architecture is a public space that was kept closed for so long, but this renovation will keep it moving forward and will definitely help our community.”

The New York State Pavilion was constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. After the World’s Fair closed, the Pavilion was transferred to NYC Parks which found temporary uses for the site, including as a roller skating rink and as a concert venue that featured Led Zeppelin, Santana and Ten Years After. But no long-term plan was ever implemented, leaving the Tent of Tomorrow and Towers shuttered for nearly a half-century.

“For nearly 60 years the NYS Pavilion’s Tower and Tent of Tomorrow has stood tall above Queens’ beloved jewel, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, representing hope during challenging and changing times,” said Anthony Sama, the NYC Parks FMCP Administrator and the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park Executive Director. “Now, decades later, it illuminates our skyline once again, shining brightly on our vibrant and thriving park, welcoming its more than 10 million annual visitors. We congratulate NYC Parks on this great achievement.”

Phase II of the project is currently in the planning stages, which would bring increased stability to the structures and allow for limited guided tours of the towers in the future.

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