In a fortunate stroke of serendipity, the 2015 Open House New York Weekend happens to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the closing of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. To celebrate and remember that remarkable event in the city’s history, a collection of former World’s Fair pavilions in Queens’ Flushing Meadows Corona Park will open to OHNY Weekend visitors, completely free of charge, for exploration and architectural tours. All of these sites are Open Access during the times indicated below on both days of OHNY Weekend, and do not require reservations.

 

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New York Hall of Science (NYSCI)

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 10:00 am2:00 pm.

Start your day at the fair off at NYSCI’s Great Hall, one of New York City’s signature spaces. Designed by Wallace K. Harrison, the Great Hall’s undulating walls rise 100-feet tall with no corners or straight segments, and are made up of more than 5,000 2 x 3-foot concrete and glass panels. Theresa O’Leary of Ennead Architects will lead tours on both days of OHNY Weekend, detailing aspects of the original design as well as the extensive renovations that were recently completed.

 

Q-Queens Museum_credit Dan Cornish, Esto.

Queens Museum

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 12:00 pm4:00 pm.

After a morning at NYSCI, head over to the Queens Museum, located in the New York City Building, site of both the 1939 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs and the first home of the United Nations. The New York City Panorama, built by Robert Moses for the ’64-65 fair, is the crown jewel of the Museum’s collection. Tour this 9,335 sq. ft. model of all 895,000 buildings in the five boroughs with museum educators on Sunday. Then head into the atrium, where architects from Grimshaw Architects will be on-hand (again on Sunday) to discuss the building’s dramatic renovation, just completed in 2014.

 

Q-New York State Pavilion_credit Brendan Crain 2

New York State Pavilion

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Step inside the New York State Pavilion during OHNY Weekend to appreciate this iconic structure’s brand new coat of “American Cheese” yellow paint, recently donated by the New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association. The Philip Johnson-designed landmark has been brightened just in time for the 50th Anniversary of the closing of the fair. Long lines are expected, so plan to arrive early.

After your day at the fair grounds, head into Manhattan to the Architecture & Design Film Festival to catch a screening of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, a brand new film that tells the story of the New York State Pavilion during the glory days of the fair, and chronicles its demise over the past 50 years.

 

Q-New York State Pavilion & Unisphere_credit Brendan Crain

World’s Fair Grounds

Saturday & Sunday, October 17-18: 1:00 pm5:00 pm.

While you’re out in Flushing Meadows, don’t miss the chance to explore the former fair grounds on free walking tours led by NYC Parks docents. Tours will leave regularly from the docent tent near the Unisphere throughout both days of OHNY Weekend, and will cover a number of World’s Fair relics and landmarks across Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the flagship city park of Queens and one of the largest green spaces in the five boroughs.