We Have Seen the Future, and It Is Rusting (NY World's Fair Pavilion)





Once there were elevators gliding up the sides of the towers to reveal a city unfolding; now they are rusted in mid-rise. Once there were stairwells winding within those towers; now they are rotted through. The call for a better tomorrow, for “Peace Through Understanding,” is answered by the flutter and coo of its hidden inhabitants.

Seeing again the New York State Pavilion, the massive space-age remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair that looms just beyond the Grand Central Parkway, seeing it in all its premature decrepitude, you cannot help but wonder: If this was built to evoke the future, then may the gods have mercy on us all.

The city’s neglect of this gift bequeathed to it in 1967 has long been a prominent embarrassment, the elephant in the room that is the borough of Queens.

But the more years that go by, the more the structure becomes New York’s own “colossal wreck,” begging, as Shelley wrote in “Ozymandias,” that we look upon it and despair.

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