The 1964 World’s Fair, held in Queens, NY, was a landmark event for Disney, as four influential attractions designed by Walt Disney made their debut at the fair. Today, on the 50th Anniversary of the start of the two year fair, one of the last pavilions, that still stands on the grounds in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, was opened to the public for the first time in decades. The relics that still stand, while they have decayed, remain stunning reminders of the fair that was – take a look at over 60 images from the site after the break!
Opened to the millions of visitors who flocked to the fair in 1964 and 1965, the New York State Pavilion, which houses the Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers, has faced a tough stretch. Following the removal of the colorful ceiling tiles, which used to make up the largest suspended roof in the world when it opened, the floor of the area faced both weather elements and vandals. The map of New York state, which made up the ground of the “tent,” decayed, leaving behind rubble. After years of uncertainty surrounding the site, with some calling for the structures to be torn down, there has been an active group of volunteers working to clean up the pavilion. New red and white paint has been applied to the base of the tent, and the cleaning up process is ongoing. As part of the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair, organizers worked with the NYC Parks department to throw open the doors to the Tent of Tomorrow.
When I arrived about one hour before scheduled opening, there were already a few hundred people on line, waiting to enter the Tent of Tomorrow. From the outside, the decay the structures have endured is obvious.
Thousands of people ended up lining up, including those who attended the fair, those who were simply history enthusiasts, or even those just curious to see the structures up close after having seen them from the highway for years. The front of the line can be seen in the first two photos below, while the end of the line one hour after the pavilion was opened are the next two photos (you can get a hint of how large the line is, as you can see the Towers and Tent off in the distance).
Visitors were handed tickets that were then called to allow them to enter. Stepping inside, I saw a view that hasn’t been seen by many in a great number of years. Although I did not have the opportunity to visit the fair (not my fault – I wasn’t born yet), I could feel the history of the place. I took a bevy of photos of the ceiling, the structure, and various items like pieces of the NY map floor that have survived.