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World's Fair Relics Were Once Visions of the Future

The abandoned relics of the New York State Pavilion are getting renewed attention from preservationists.
Image: The Unisphere
The sun sets behind the Unisphere on Aug. 27, 2013, in New York City. Mike Stobe / Getty Images file

The Unisphere, a 12-story steel globe in the Queens borough of New York City, is one of the many remnants of the 1964 World's Fair. The structure was cleaned and reinforced in 1994 and designated an official city landmark in 1995.

Other structures in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that were once space-age visions of the future are now abandoned relics, with rusted beams, faded paint and cracked concrete. As the fair's 50th anniversary approaches this month, the remains of the New York State Pavilion are getting renewed attention, from preservationists who believe they should be restored, and from critics who see them as hulking eyesores that should be torn down. Neither option would come cheap: an estimated $14 million for demolition and $32 million to $72 million for renovation.

Image: World Fair
A group of preservationists is fighting to save the towers and a pavilion of pillars once called the “Tent of Tomorrow,” remnants from the 1964 World's Fair.Bebeto Matthews / AP

— Joy Jernigan and The Associated Press