BY JOE MARVILLI
Borough President Melinda Katz took a tour of the New York State Pavilion, joining community leaders and elected officials to find a solution for the decaying structure.
The tour was the latest step in a process that started in November. This year’s 50th anniversary of the historic site’s construction led to renewed discussions and calls for an overhaul and repair from People for the Pavilion. With many options available, Katz and others took a tour, even entering the Tent of Tomorrow, to see what can be done.
The Borough President was joined by Deputy BP Leroy Comrie, Assembly members Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) and Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth), Councilman Rory Lancman and representatives for U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Grace Meng (D-Flushing). Katz said that demolition of the site is something no one wants to see happen.
“I, for one, get annoyed when I see it in movies as something that it’s not being used anymore. We need to make sure it’s a useful part of our history,” she said. “I think this is the generation that we can make something happen.”
Katz added that the significance of the Pavilion as one of the remaining structures from the 1964 World’s Fair makes it relevant to Queens’ history and culture.
“I think that’s an important aspect of our Borough,” she said. “No matter how old someone is, either they or their parents have a story about the Pavilion.”
Walking into the Tent of Tomorrow, the Parks Dept.’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park Administrator, Janice Melnick, talked to Katz about the challenges renovation would face. The roof of the Tent of Tomorrow was made of plastic and had fallen apart over time. As a result, the cables and steel structures have rusted and would need to be replaced.
The Parks Dept. also outlined the cost for several proposals on what to do about the Pavilion. The cheapest proposal would be to demolish the entire structure, at a cost of $14,264,661. Demolishing the Tent of Tomorrow while leaving the towers up would cost $10,613,075.
The restoration plan would bring the Pavilion back to how it was in 1964, with the price tag of $52,117,080.
Although there are not yet many details, a conceptual plan by Perkins+Will architects is also being floated around, which would improve and modernize aspect of the Pavilion, for the cost of $72,691,555.
To figure out which options to aim towards, the Borough President’s office will create a Pavilion task force dedicated to finding funding and deciding what to do with the site.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.