GES177 - New York State Pavillion Tower
Built between 1962-64, and designed by a notable modern architect Philip Johnson, the NY State Pavilli0n consists of three remaining buildings in the park. The Observation Towers, the Theaterama, and the Tent of Tomorrow. There is also the Unisphere, which sits near the buildings. It was built for the 1964/5 World's Fair. A description of the fair can be found here.
GE074 trundled along the seemingly never ending line out of Manhattan with me, as we made our way to Queens, and Flushing Meadows. Home to the NY Mets baseball team, and the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre, home of the US Open tennis tournament. Inbetween these two homes of sport, lies the gently weathering remains of the Pavilion. The Theatreama is the only building to have a continuing use, and is home to the Queens Theatre in the Park.
The most obvious remnant of the Fair, are the Observation Towers. Built at three different levels, the highest tops out at 89m. This is where we wanted to reach. We were aware of others getting in here in the past, and weren't sure we'd be able to replicate their feats. Tales of roped claws and crumbling stairs didn't fill me with confidence. Walking around the permimeter, it became obvious that locals had been getting in. We quickly darted about the site, looking for a possible access method. We found the basement open, and somewhat water-logged. Before we knew it, we had some stairs to climb. They seemed in pretty good shape, and we rushed towards the top. Round and round the flaky rusting stairs we charged, getting giddy and dizzy with each corner. Foot forward onto the next step of a flight of stairs. At each turn we also had a glimpse of the ground through a narrow slot in the tower. I kept my eyes out for park cops pulling up, but none materialised. The towers are in the foreground in this pic, the remains of the tent of tomorrow sits in the background.
We reached the first platform at 18m up, as seen in the pic below. A nervous look around, and we crossed to another tower, and started to climb again. Below us I noted the stairs were missing their steps, and looking pretty unclimbable. I guess this is where others had initially come up. The stairs at this level were fine, similar to the stairs we'd just climbed. Again we charged up, whizzing around the short flights of stairs.
We popped out at the second platform at 46m high, and again, only had a quick look around. Our main goal was to reach the top, so should we be compromised on lower levels, we wouldn't achieve that. So we kept moving.
Again we continued up the stairs inside the well of the final tower. Mesh grills providing an element of safety, although who knew how strong the bolts were, holding the stairs to the wall!
We finally reached the top of the stairs, and walked out to the lower level of the top section. We just had the knackered stairs to climb, as seen below. Not much of an obstacle to either of us. And we were on the top. Conscious of the fact that the local boys in blue liked their skycopters, we kept a vigilant eye out.
The highest point of the towers, on top was a red aircraft warning light. GE074 popped up for a look and pic of his achievement.
Looking across the borough of Queens and northern Brooklyn to Manhattan Island. In the foreground on the right, is the former helipad for the World's Fair. It's now the Terrace on teh Park, a banqueting and function hall.
The viewing platforms below, the tent of tomorrow on the right, and former theatreama on the left. The Meadow Lake, part of the park, is on the far right.
Catching some Zzzzzz at the top. The unisphere in the background, and behind that the rebuilt Shea stadium. Just to the left of that is Tennis centre. To the left of the unisphere, is the Queens museum of Art.
After achieving the main goal, we sauntered down the structure, and stopped off for some shots on the descent. A clearer shot of the tent of tomorrow. Once it had a glorious coloured glass panelled ceiling. On the floor was a map of NY state, made from terrazzo panels. Now both panels and glass are long gone.
I went to get a shot of the basement, but a chap from the theatre opposite had spotted us. He had a key to the gate, and asked what we were doing. We denied we'd been up the towers. We then did the walk of shame out through the gates. Job done, I didn't care too much. It was a fun distraction in the afternoon. We then had the loooooong journey back to our lodgings. Preparing for more nocturnal exploring.