Preservationists let down by New York City’s decision to seal off the world’s oldest subway tunnel will be cheered to learn that community activism has helped save another city landmark – the New York State Pavilion – from the chopping block. When the crumbling World’s Fair relic was under threat of demolition, activists and longtime fans Matthew Silva, Christian Doran, and Salmaan Khan founded People For The Pavilion to drum up support for the iconic structure. Thanks to their efforts and a Kickstarter-backed film, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has pledged to restore the site back to its former glory.
Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the futuristic World’s Fair complex built by architect Philip Johnson has captured the public’s imagination for years and even made a cameo in the movie “Men in Black”. To attract widespread support, the NYSP Paint Crew spruced up the structure with fresh coats of paint and People for the Pavilion shared stories of its rich history, from its time as a concert venue for The Grateful Dead to its stint as a roller rink in the 70s. These efforts helped convince city officials and community members of the pavilion’s potential for adaptive reuse.
The decision to preserve the site comes despite a 2013 Parks Department report that said the cost of saving and restoring the structure could be up to three to seven times more than the $14 million price tag of tearing it down. “In my 30 years in parks I have never seen such unanimous support. Everyone wants it to be preserved,” says Janice Melnick, administrator of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, according to NY Daily News.
Interested in lending a helping hand? Check out MODERN RUIN, Matthew Silva’s Kickstarter-backed documentary on the New York State Pavilion.
Via NY Daily News
Images via Modern Ruin Kickstarter