The series of three pools were constructed by Robert Moses for the 1964-65 World’s Fair and span the length between the Unisphere and Fountain of the Planets. As part of the $5.23 million renovation, the reflecting pool near the Unisphere will become a mist fountain to “create an ephemeral, cooling cloud that will generally rise between three and five feet above the surface, providing relief for visitors on hot days,” according to Meghan Lalor, spokesperson for the Parks Department.
Several visioning sessions were held in 2015 and 2016 to gather input from the surrounding community on what features they would like to see. Though the pools were renovated in 2000 with $3.4 million from former Queens Borough President Claire Schulman, they sustained damage after Hurricane Sandy struck.
The mist fountain will be completed as part of the first phase of the project, along with a seating area and planting evergreen shrubs and other plants, AM New York first reported. Lalor said the city agency expects to begin construction on the fountain next fall.
During the second phase, the center pool will be converted into a theater with a terraced lawn for a variety of performances. Finally, the large fountain next to the Fountain of the Planets will be converted into a larger water park with spray showers.
According to Lalor, Queens residents wanted the agency to keep the park’s Art Deco-inspired flourishes that were part of the 1939 World’s Fair, which the Parks Department will honor with triangular, geometric edges around the midst garden.
In 2015, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz secured funds to re-paint the New York State Pavilion and upgrade the observation towers with new electrical systems, staircases and concrete platforms. Funds were also secured for the renovation of the asphalt field at the World’s Fair Playground and a $480,000 replacement of the aviary mesh and marsh bridge at the Queens Zoo.