Queens Borough President Melinda Katz today commended Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the members of the City Council for agreeing to include more than $4.8 million for the restoration of the New York State Pavilion in the Capital Budget the City Council approved early this morning.
The funding from the Mayor and the Council, combined with nearly $1 million that Borough President Katz allocated to the Pavilion from her portion of the newly adopted Capital Budget, means that a total of $5.806 million has been set aside to begin the restoration of the Pavilion, a distinctive, Space Age-style architectural gem designed by the legendary Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair, which was held in what is now Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the City Council have recognized the importance of taking this first step to help ensure the New York State Pavilion will be enjoyed and admired by Queens residents and visitors for many more decades to come,” Borough President Katz said. “Along with the nearby Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion has become a symbol of the Borough of Queens that reminds us of the excitement and hopefulness the world felt at the beginning of the Space Age. The Pavilion keeps us connected to that history while it also serves as an icon of Queens that is recognized around the world. Its preservation will aid our efforts to rebrand the Queens as a top-level tourist destination that we call ‘The World’s Borough.’”
The $5.806 million included in the capital budget for the Pavilion will be used to upgrade the structure’s electrical system, rebuild the staircases inside the Pavilion’s three towers and repair the concrete platforms supporting the observation decks at the top of each of the towers.
The funding includes $4.2 million provided by Mayor de Blasio, $628,000 provided by Speaker Mark-Viverito and $979,000 provided by Borough President Katz.
In April the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the New York State Pavilion to be one of its “National Treasures.” The National Treasures program recognizes historically, culturally and architecturally important sites as part of an effort to raise awareness and funding for their preservation. The Pavilion is one of only 44 sites in the country to bear this designation.
“Restoring the Pavilion is the right thing to do at just the right time,” said Peg Breen, president of The New York Landmarks Conservancy, which has supported Borough President Katz’s efforts to preserve the Pavilion. “We agree with the Borough President that the restored Pavilion will be a wonderful representation of the vitality of the borough and provide a space for all kinds of events that will draw not just people from Queens, but people from around the city and visitors from around the world.”