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The New York State Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair as it appeared in 1964.

Associated Press,

World's Fair site is now a 'National Treasure'

  • Article by: Lisa W. Foderaro New York Times
  • April 22, 2014 - 7:44 PM

– Fifty years after the 1964 World’s Fair opened, the New York State Pavilion, one of the last architectural vestiges of the fair, was named on Tuesday a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit organization.

The Pavilion, which consists of a cluster of curvaceous towers reminiscent of the television cartoon “The Jetsons,” has deteriorated over the decades, and the structures are permanently closed, their surfaces marred by rust.

City parks officials have been studying options for the site’s restoration, and the designation by the National Trust could help raise money in that effort. The Pavilion, which is in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, joins more than 40 National Treasures nationwide.

They are generally historic, cultural or natural sites threatened by development or neglect. Among them are the bridges of Yosemite National Park, the National Cathedral in Washington, the Astrodome sports stadium in Houston and the Ellis Island hospital complex in New York City.

“The Pavilion represents a pivotal time in American history,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust. Architect Philip Johnson, who designed it, was inspired by the “allure of putting a man on the moon,” she said.

In recent years, parks officials have commissioned engineering studies of the Pavilion, which, along with the observation towers, includes the red-and-white-striped Tent of Tomorrow.

Demolition, which would run $14 million, was considered. But while the structures need extensive rehabilitation work, they are fundamentally sound, parks officials said.

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