2015-10-21 / Features

Historic ‘Tent Of Tomorrow’ Preserved And Beautified


The “Tent of Tomorrow,” recently painted and preserved includes a roof of multicolored panels. The “Tent of Tomorrow,” recently painted and preserved includes a roof of multicolored panels. Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski joined President of the New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association (NYSSPCA) Kieran Ahern, current Business Manager for the International Union of Painting and Allied Trades Local 806 District Council 9 Joe Azzapardi and former Manager Joe Ramaglia, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Assemblymembers Margaret Markey and Francisco Moya, Congressman Joe Crowley, and Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon to celebrate on October 15 the completion of the New York State Pavilion, aka the World’s Fair’s “Tent of Tomorrow” painting project. The event also announced the commencement of a $650,000 design contract to draft plans for important electrical and structural improvements on the towers, funded by Katz, Mayor de Blasio and the City Council. Public tours of the New York State Pavilion were held that weekend as part of Open House New York.


Borough President Melinda Katz, Congressman Joseph Crowley, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, NYC Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, and other officials celebrated the completion of the project to paint the Towers of Tomorrow. Borough President Melinda Katz, Congressman Joseph Crowley, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, NYC Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, and other officials celebrated the completion of the project to paint the Towers of Tomorrow. “We are truly thankful to the Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association and the painters who donated 8,000 hours of labor to beautify and preserve this iconic landmark,” said Lewandowski. “We also extend a special thank you to our local elected officials for their continued support, which has allowed us to take the first steps in repairing and stabilizing the New York State Pavilion Towers. To celebrate the tower’s legacy we invite everyone who visited the World’s Fairs, community members and visitors to the city to come out to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”

“Due to the tremendous generosity of Painters DC 9 and the Painting Contractors Association, the Pavilion has been refreshed with a new coat of paint in the original ‘American Cheese,’ [color] on time as scheduled,” Katz said. “We’re working hard to save this architectural marvel, and this facelift is a great boon to our efforts. We will restore this national treasure into a visible icon befitting ‘The World’s Borough’ for generations of families and visitors to enjoy.”

“With so many moving parts, this project required major cooperation from everyone involved and, fortunately, we got that.” Said Jed Coldon of the NYSSPCA. “From the Union, to the Parks Department, to Ahern Painting, who donated a large portion of the labor, everyone had the same focus on getting this job done.”

“The Pavilion is a symbol of Queens’ culture and history, and restoring it to its natural state shows the borough’s strength and resilience. I would like to thank Borough President Katz, DC9 IUPAT Business Manager Joseph Azzopardi, Commissioner Lewandowski and everyone who helped in making this project a reality,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

Assemblywoman Markey, Chair of the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Arts, Sports Committee, and co-chair of the World’s Fair 50th Anniversary Committee, said: “What a great day it is for this beloved icon of the 1964 World’s Fair. Last year, it wasn’t clear then how any of it could happen. But now, 18 months later, we are celebrating the very first restoration milestone thanks to the generosity of the Structural Steel Painting contractors and members of Local 806. With the first funding in place from the Mayor, the City Council and the Borough President, we are now saving the New York Pavilion for future generations.”

“Thanks to the generous donations of Painters DC 9 and the Painting Contractors Association, the Tent of Tomorrow has been restored and protected for another generation,” said Councilman Rory I. Lancman.

This pro bono reclamation project, worth an estimated value of $3.25 million, restored the original luster and beauty to one of New York City’s most prestigious landmarks, in its original World’s Fair color, “American Cheese Yellow.” The work was included as part of the Union’s apprenticeship program, so while the park received a makeover, the painters gained valuable work experience. In addition to helping restore past grandeur of this location, the new paint system serves as protective coating which will help preserve the bones of this New York City landmark and extend the life of the structure by at least 15 years. The painting project began in May 2015 and was completed this past September.

Tent of Tomorrow Recoating Project by the Numbers:

• 30 Bridge Painters donated time to the recoating project over the past six months

• 8,000 donated hours

• 1,600 gallons of paint were donated and used on the project

• 13 different industry vendors donated to the project over its duration

• $3.25 million is the estimated cost of the project

The New York State Pavilion was constructed for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Designed by architect Philip Johnson, the “Tent of Tomorrow” measures 350 feet by 250 feet, with sixteen 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000 square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. The popular exhibit for the state of New York also held three towers, measuring 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet. The two shorter towers held cafeterias for the fair, and the tallest tower, as the highest point of the fair, held an observation deck. Fair visitors ascended the towers in the “Sky Streak” capsule elevators.

As part of NYC Park’s ongoing efforts to restore and beautify the World’s Fair relics in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in late September 2015, consultants began drafting the design and phasing plan to address important electrical and structural work on the NY State Pavilion towers. Nearly $8.9 million has been allocated for this work by Mayor de Blasio, Borough President Katz, and the City Council. The design is expected to be finalized by Fall 2016, with construction anticipated to begin in 2017.

For more information, photos, and a virtual video tour of Flushing Meadows Corona Park World’s Fair Legacy, visit www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/fmcpworlds fairs.

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