It's nothing new for me to be really into ruins and reminders of the past, but it seems like I've been extra interested in seeking them out lately. My friend Jim and I went to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the Queens Museum a few weeks ago and had a great time hunting out the remnants of the '64/'65 World's Fair. I had been once before, around this time last year, but it was definitely a place I was eager to return to, and Jim had never been.
The Unisphere still tops my list of favorite New York attractions, and it's just as impressive and generally awesome as it was the first time I saw it. I love that the park feels like a total secret, and it has been basically deserted both times I've been. This feeling of isolation only adds to the sense that you're traveling back in time as you stumble upon leftover pieces and parts of the Fair.
The fate of the New York State Pavilion is actually a bit uncertain at the moment — it will apparently cost at least $52 million to restore the structure, and "only" $14 million to demolish it — but it's one of my favorite areas of the park to explore. What I wouldn't give to be able to walk over the 567-panel terrazzo road map of New York State on the floor of the pavilion, or land a helicopter on the top of the Port Authority's heliport — now an event venue called Terrace on the Park.
There are actually a lot of fair remnants (big and small) if you look hard enough — triangular canopies, the undulating New York Hall of Science building, futuristic-looking water fountains and a few remaining sculptures like the Rocket Thrower, which was restored in 2013. There are even more pieces that we didn't know still existed, like the time capsule and avenue markers, so we're already planning a return trip in the spring.
The Queens Museum just went though an extensive remodel and recently reopened and I definitely recommend checking it out. The building is actually a leftover from the '39 World's Fair, and the New York panorama (from '64) is something that everyone should see at least once in their life. Since our trip, I've become even more obsessed with learning about the fairs, and I'll definitely be more prepared when we return. I can't find any information about the fountains around the Unisphere, except that they were restored in 2010, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to catch them on at some point this summer. Now if I could only track down one of these color-block lamps, I'd really be in heaven.