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World’s Fair fountains in Queens will transform into ‘mist gardens’

DATE POSTED:February 13, 2018

A relic of the 1964 World’s Fair will undergo a renovation

One of the few remaining World’s Fair artifacts in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is due to get an upgrade that will bring a “mist garden” to the Queens park.

AMNY reports that the NYC Parks Department is working with architecture firm Quennell Rothschild & Partners on the reconstruction of the Fountains of the Fair, which were constructed for the 1964-’65 World’s Fair and located south of the iconic Unisphere. Though the fountains were a star attraction during the fair, they haven’t fared well since then: They fell into disrepair, and were further damaged after Hurricane Sandy.

But that’ll soon change: As part of the renovation project (PDF!), which is expected to cost $5 million, three of the currently empty fountains—the Reflecting Pool, located just south of the Unisphere, and the center and large fountains beyond that—will be transformed, with each one given a new purpose. The Reflecting Pool will become what the Parks Department is calling a “mist garden,” with jets releasing sprays of water that will almost resemble fog rising above the ground. The center fountain will become a sunken performance space surrounded by lawn seating; the large fountain will become an area for water play, with “spray showers will reference the arching jets that lined the pool” during the 1939 fair.

 Quennell Rothschild & Partners

The idea, according to Janice Melnick, the park’s coordinator, is to provide parkgoers with a “fun, safe place to cool down,” as she told AMNY. As anyone who’s been to the park on a hot day knows, many visitors will wade into the pool at the base of the Unisphere when temperatures rise; park officials hope that these additions will quell that.

The fountain project will be completed in phases, with construction on the mist gardens beginning later this year, and the other two spaces getting underway after that. It’s one of more than a dozen capital improvement projects happening at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the city’s fourth-largest green space, which include renovating the World’s Fair Marina, and fixing the promenade at Meadow Lake.

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