I made what's turned out to be a depressingly prescient pilgrimage out to Queens at the tail end of the Summer. Back in early September, my wife and kids were away at my in-laws', so I took the opportunity to hop on the subway and swing out to a couple of notable landmarks I hadn't ever witnessed up close. One of those places was 5Pointz, and we all know what's happened there since then. My other stop was the World's Fair out in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
When viewed up close -- or as close as they let you get -- it's a bit of a different story.
While the stately Unisphere (the big globe behind the Mr. Softee truck at the bottom of this post) remains an awe-inspiring view, the space age structures of the World's Fair Pavilion look like they've been forgotten. Looming out of the trees like something out of "The Planet of the Apes," the wear and tear on the towers and their round, enclosed courtyard is entirely visible. They are in a state of gradual-but-unmistakable corrosion.
Having long wondered about these structures from a far, I was in a bit of a dreamy daze as I slowly approached them up a winding path from the Unisphere, only to be jolted back to earth by the piercing chirp of a police car. "That's far enough," came the admonishment from a bullhorn. I awkwardly explained that all I wanted to do was snap a couple of pictures, but the police lady behind the wheel didn't seem too sympathetic to my endeavor. I took the shots you see here and was forced to leave it at that.
This week, meanwhile, I was disturbed to read on Gizmodo that the World's Fair Pavilion is a grave peril of being demolished, as the cost of repairing the neglected monument to a shiny, promising and tragically unlikely future spirals well into the millions and millions (Gizmodo also points out that it'll require $14 million to raze it). How did we let it get to this point?
That article makes the case that that something must be done, as it deems the current incarnation an "eyesore," but I'm not sure I agree on that front. Maybe watching it erode further would be dispiriting, but I can't bear the thought of this thing being torn down. I would be heartbroken. As I said over on Facebook, if Queens tears the World Fair Pavilion down, LET'S TEAR QUEENS DOWN!
What do you think?