New York State Pavilion Repainted from Side

photo by: Marco Catini

October 13, 2015

Before and After: The New York State Pavilion Gets a Paint Job

Architect Philip Johnson designed the New York State Pavilion -- a National Treasure of the National Trust -- for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The event drew an estimated 51 million visitors to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens for a celebration of culture, technology, and “man's achievement on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe."

While most of the rest of the fair’s elements quickly disappeared after the event, the "Tent of Tomorrow," one of three components of the Pavilion, remained. By 1976 though, the roof was declared unstable and removed, and the tent began to deteriorate.

Now, 51 years after it was built, there are new, very recognizable signs of life.

In August, New York’s Structural Steel Painters Association, along with the District Council 9 New York International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 806 completed a three-month project to repaint the upper steel portion of the Tent of Tomorrow in its original American Cheese Yellow.

“We wanted to give it some love and attention to show the public that we care about it,” says Flushing Meadows Corona Park Administrator, Janice Melnick.

The project was four years in the making and was supported by local council member Elizabeth Crowley. The work was completed on a pro-bono basis as part of the union’s apprenticeship program and totaled $3 million worth of in-kind donations.

Interior view of the Pavilion

photo by: Duncan Kendall

The New York State Pavilion before its new paint job...

New York State Pavilion Reapinted from Bottom

photo by: Marco Catini

...and after its new paint job.

The completion of the project will be celebrated Thursday, October 15 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, food and refreshments, and a performance by a local a cappella group that sang during the World’s Fair 50 years ago.

“We’re very grateful to the new York Structural Steel Painters Association and the local 806 apprentices for taking such loving care of this beautiful treasure,” says Melnick. “They went the extra mile. It was just really great to see the enthusiasm.”

For more coverage on the New York State Pavilion, click here, here, and here.

The "Tent of Tomorrow" view from the bottom up

photo by: Chris Swann, Flickr

New York State Pavilion

photo by: Duncan Kendall

New York State Pavilion Crews Painting

photo by: Danny Avila

Left Column: The Pavilion before its new paint job. Right Column: Crews work on the New York State Pavilion.

New York State Pavilion Reapinted from Distance

photo by: Janice Melnick

The New York State Pavilion with its completed American Cheese Yellow paint job.

David Weible was the content specialist at the National Trust, previously with Preservation and Outside magazines. His interest in historic preservation was inspired by the ‘20s-era architecture, streetcar neighborhoods, and bars of his hometown of Cleveland.

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