The deteriorating New York Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is going partly underground until funds can be found to repair it, and a major architectural firm is working to find new uses for the soon-to-be-landmarked structure.
The terrazzo map of New York embedded in the floor of the circular “Tent of Tomorrow” will be covered by several layers of material to protect it from the elements until money can be raised for a restoration. In addition, the Manhattan-based firm Perkins Will has embarked on a pro bono study of possible uses for the 45-year-old structure.
“They’re currently in the process of looking at it,” said John Krawchuk, director of historic preservation for the aging structure. “We’ve had a few strategic planning meetings with them. They’ve had a couple visits to the site itself.”
The Pavilion was approved by the state Historic Preservation Office to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The next step will be for the National Parks Service to approve the listing. Krawchuk expects that will happen by spring 2010.
The preservation of the terrazzo map was an extension of a conservation project undertaken by University of Pennsylvania professor Frank Matero last year.
Next month, parks maintenance workers will spread a layer of sand a few inches thick over the 9,000-square-foot map floor. Over that they will lay bio-barrier fabric that helps keep vegetation from growing and cracking the aging map. On top of the fabric will go gravel to weigh down the barrier fabric and provide an additional level of material to prevent water from filtering down to the map itself.
Preservationists in Queens have been working to find funding to restore the weather-beaten relics from the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Krawchuk said after the Pavilion makes it on the National Register of Historic Places, they can apply for National Historic Landmark status, which will open the door to grant possibilities.
A proposal was also being considered at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy to repaint portions of the buildings using period-accurate colors, but that was in its early stages, Parks staff said.
Last fall, crews removed two external elevators and other loose components from the observation towers and the Tent of Tomorrow after summer storms blew several large chunks of debris through the roof of the Queens Theatre in the Park.
A listening session will be held Nov. 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Queens Museum of Art. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP by calling 311 and asking for the Flushing Meadows Corona Park administrator’s office.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
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