New York State Pavilion scores a $3 million makeover for free

By Bill Parry

The New York Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will be getting a $3 million makeover for free, thanks to bridge and steel painters. Sometime in the fall, the rusted Tent of Tomorrow will be restored to its original “American cheese yellow” according an official from the City Parks Department.

“Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Tent of Tomorrow is an iconic symbol of Queens, but we haven’t been able to give it the treatment it deserves until now,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said Wednesday. “Thanks to a partnership with the Structural Steel Painters Union, the building is being restored and beautified so that it will remain a source of pride for the entire borough, and a reminder of the World’s Fair, for years to come.”

This pro bono reclamation project will be part of the union’s apprentice program, so while the structure receives its makeover, the painters will gain valuable work experience. There is a practical benefit for the union as well.

“We always have the apprentices paint the Intrepid, but now there’s too much stuff on the deck and no room to train them,” District Council #9 Business Manager Joe Ramaglia said. “Here they’ll have a place to train.”

The beautification project will jump-start the initial $5.8 million renovation of the New York State Pavilion that Queens Borough President Melinda Katz made a priority when she took office last year. “We’re working hard to save this architectural marvel, and the face-lift is a great boon to our efforts,” she said. “We will restore this national treasure into a visible icon befitting ‘The World’s Borough,’ for generations of families and visitors to come. We want people to come here, to visit here, and come back here, and most importantly to spend their money here.”

Bill Goldstein, Mayor de Blasio’s senior advisor for Recovery, Resiliency and Infrastructure, was on hand to thank the New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association, the International Union of Painting and Allied Trades and Local 806 District Council 9 for “engaging” in the project.

“Making this project a part of the apprenticeship program both helps preserve a historic structure and highlights the critical role apprenticeship programs play in the construction trades in New York City,” he said.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, perhaps stated it best when he said, “Millions of dollars of donated effort is a pretty good deal for us!”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.