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Constructed for the 1964–65 World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Park is one of the few buildings still standing more than five decades after the fair’s opening. Envisioned by then-governor Nelson Rockefeller as a magnificent symbol of the state’s strength, the Philip Johnson–designed pavilion was a favorite of Robert Moses, and was one of the few structures that Moses wanted to remain after the fair ended. But after a brief second life as a roller-skating rink, the pavilion was left to decay in the elements, and what remains today is a battered shell of its original design.
Matthew Silva, a 29-year-old Long Island teacher who was born in Queens, hopes that will change. He’s made a documentary, Modern Ruin, that premieres tonight at the Queens Theater and traces the pavilion’s history while looking at its future potential. He’s also co-founded an advocacy group called People for the Pavilion that hopes to raise awareness of the structure. […] […]Last year, Queens borough president Melinda Katz secured nearly $6 million in funding for the pavilion, which is meant to go towards stabilizing the structure — a process that is estimated to cost some 40 or 50 million dollars. And it’s set to get a paint job this year, at no cost, as part of a training program for apprentice bridge painters. But the bigger question remains: What should actually be done with the pavilion in the future? […]