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$3M Paint Project Revives Iconic Tent

Monday, October 26, 2015

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Long neglected, the New York State Pavilion’s “Tent of Tomorrow” has been returned to its original yellow splendor, thanks to a pro-bono paint job worth approximately $3.25 million.

It took 30 bridge painters nearly 2,000 gallons of paint to refurbish the historic attraction, built to celebrate the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, NY.

Designed by architect Philip Johnson, the ellipse-shaped structure measures 350 feet by 250 feet, with 16 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000-square-foot roof of multi-colored panels.

Project Details

The project was the undertaking of the New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association and the International Union of Painting and Allied Trades Local 806 District Council. The makeover is expected to extend the structure's life by 15 years, according to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

The coatings donated for the project were manufactured by PPG Industries Inc., of Pittsburgh. They included a two-component, high-solids epoxy primer and a high-gloss, low-VOC aliphatic polyurethane system used as a topcoat.

Tent of Tomorrow

A color called "American Cheese Yellow" was specified for the job.

“American Cheese Yellow” was specified for the job in an effort to match the Tent of Tomorrow’s original paint scheme, officials say.

The project began in May and wrapped up last month.

Challenging Work

New York SSPCA executive director said the project presented its share of challenges.

Jed Coldon told the New York Daily News, “Painting it was the easy part, but rigging it was difficult because the steel was so intricate.”

According to the news outlet, “It took professional painters more than 8,000 hours and 1,600 gallons of paint to get the job done...That included power-washing off decades of rust, applying primer and the historically accurate paint.”

The restoration story isn’t over for the Queens’ icon.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens’ Borough President Melinda Katz, and the City Council, have allocated nearly $8.9 million for electrical and structural work, according to the parks department.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Paint application; Painters; Steel

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