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A relic of the 1964 World’s Fair will finally get restored in Queens

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The project to restore the New York State Pavilion’s observation towers will begin construction this month

Three tall towers and a smaller round one painted in yellow rise above Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Felix Lipov/

One of the most prominent relics of the 1964 World’s Fair is finally going to be restored.

The New York State Pavilion’s observation towers, which stand over the midcentury Tent of Tomorrow at the former World’s Fair site in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, will finally be restored. The project will get underway this month and is expected to be completed in March 2021, People for the Pavilion first reported.

Designed by Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Pavilion and its towers, were meant to be temporary (as other World’s Fair structures) but remained in place because they were “too expensive to torn down.” The towers have been significantly deteriorating, and efforts to preserve the worn-out observation towers had failed due to lack of funding.

But in 2017, the project received $14.25 million in funding. According to the NYC Parks Department, the project now has $24.097 million in funding from the Mayor’s office, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and the City Council.

As we previously reported, the project will include architectural lighting in the three observation towers and the Tent of Tomorrow, structural conservation work, and waterproofing for the towers. After the renovation, there won’t be unlimited access to the Pavilion and the towers won’t be publicly accessible, the Parks Department said.

The towers and a round structure rise in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, in Queens.
A rendering of the restoration project.

Correction: This piece originally stated that the observation towers will be publicly accessible, but they will not be. Curbed regrets the error.