DAILY NEWS: New York State Pavilion goes American Cheese Yellow ahead of open house weekend
By Lisa L. Colangelo
The New York State Pavilion — a half-century old World’s Fair relic in Flushing Meadows Corona Park — is looking fresh after receiving a new coat of American Cheese Yellow paint.
It took professional painters more than 8,000 hours and 1,600 gallons of paint to get the job done, officials said Thursday.
That included power-washing off decades of rust, applying primer and the historically accurate paint while working on a platform suspended 100 feet in the air.
“It was a difficult job,” said Jed Coldon, executive director of The New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors’ Association, which donated labor for the project. “Painting it was the easy part, but rigging it was difficult because the steel was so intricate.”
Visitors will get a rare look inside the massive structure this weekend during an open house that also marks the 50th anniversary of the fair’s closing ceremony in October 1965. The open-gate event takes place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The paint job — valued at more than $3 million — is part of a larger effort to restore the long-neglected Queens icon.
Renowned architect Philip Johnson designed the pavilion, a 350-foot-by-250-foot structure supported by 16 columns, 100 feet tall, for the 1964-65 fair. The so-called Tent of Tomorrow housed a huge terrazzo map of New York State and boasted the largest cable suspension roof on the planet.
The space-age wonder also includes three tiered observation towers rising 60, 150 and 226 feet into the air.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz worked with the city to secure more than $8 million for the most extensive renovations since the pavilion was constructed. Plans are underway to upgrade the electrical systems and replace staircases and concrete platforms in the observation towers, as well as other improvements.
“It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for even an architectural marvel like the New York State Pavilion,” said Katz.
“The pavilion is a living reminder of the World’s Fair’s timeless message that is ever-present to this day: ‘Peace Through Understanding’. Residents certainly recognized it to be worthy of being preserved and restored, and today we can count this achievement as one more victory toward its preservation.”