My favorite part of the car ride from suburban Long Island to New York City (or just "The City" as us Long Island kids would say) was seeing the remnants of the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair in Queens. I remember wondering why it had been left to decay, sitting unloved for years. Doesn't anyone else see this standing here? It didn't make sense especially when my grandmother, a Depression era, no-nonsense gal from the Bronx, would speak about how inspiring and wondrous the World's Fair was back in '64. Fast forward a dozen years when I am in architecture school reading that the designer of these space-age looking towers and pavilion of pillars (dubbed the "Tent of Tomorrow") was none other than legendary architect Philip Johnson. His designs included a glass elevator to the tower's observation decks, the largest suspended roof in the world thus far, a 9,000 sf terrazzo tile map of New York state and the suggestion for a future without limits.
Abandoned buildings have always been fascinating to me, reeking of times gone by, equal parts creepy and intriguing; they are like the push and pull of a magnet. It's not welcoming, yet I linger. These structures have a story to tell - they know the story - but no one's listening anymore. True, World's Fair buildings in general are not designed, nor known for, their longevity. But that's not to say there isn't a precedent. And that's not to say these structure can't tell their story yet again.
As the 50th anniversary of this World's Fair approaches there is much debate about what to do with these deteriorating structures, which have been largely unused save for a stint in the late 60s and 1970s as a concert venue and skating rink. There are two camps: tear the eyesores down vs. restore the icons for a new chapter. Folks like Matthew Silva who co-founded the group "People for the Pavilion" and is creating a documentary film, Modern Ruin, on the structures, Jonny Piro and Mitch Silverstein - the volunteer painters who meet each year to put on a fresh coat and thousands more are working hard for revival. Rush3's vote is also for saving them and thus paying homage to the original design thought, spirit of the World's Fair and showing our current and future generations that there is much to be learned and appreciated from the past.
What's your vote?