Monday, April 25, 2011

Trylon Theater in Forest Hills Patch - A 1939 World's Fair Legacy Never Ceases

The 1939 Trylon Theater as boasted in 1941 in The Theatre Catalog

The Trylon Theater after its 60-year run in Dec 1999. A time when the facade's most significant Art Deco features with international ties remained intact.

The TRYLON THEATER is your Rego-Forest Preservation Council Chairman's latest installation in the Local History column for Forest Hills Patch. 

This theater at 98-81 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills had cultural, architectural, and historical significance to the 1939 – 1940 World's Fair, which was held in Flushing Meadows Park, and categorized by the 700-ft spire Trylon (pyramid) and 180-ft Perisphere (globe) monuments. It was the “Theater of Tomorrow,” since the theme of the 1939 World’s Fair was the “World of Tomorrow,” where exhibits emphasized technological improvements. Social and cultural change led to new waves of immigrants. The marquee once boasted The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind

With the exception of its closure in 1999, and the jackhammering of significant Art Deco features in 2005 despite a community preservation movement and political controversy, you can read an excerpt of its intriguing 60-year chapter of what defined a neighborhood theater with international ties. Please share your memories: 

Thankfully hosted on the 1939 New York World's Fair (Reaction Grid) website, you can read more about the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater (which led to the creation of Rego-Forest Preservation Council in late 2006): In short, when former councilmember, Melinda Katz, did NOT support landmarking sites in Forest Hills, the Landmarks Preservation Commission backed off from the Trylon Theater. Sometimes public officials forget why they were elected.

Art Deco glory! The Trylon Theater entrance pavilion after closure in Dec 1999. It features a Trylon Monument on the mosaic ticket booth with a central 3D mirror-image on the terrazzo floor, which is then accompanied by Art Deco chevrons in mosaic tiles.

Art Deco travesty in 2005: Hard to believe that this was all that remained of the above image, consisting of the priceless ticket booth and entrance pavilion, as a demolition crew was told to destroy this artifact.
2005: Bad enough the lobby was gutted, but the back-lit mosaic Trylon fountain wasn't even spared.

The World of Tomorrow-themed cloth mural for the Trylon Theater, a "Theater of Tomorrow." Sadly, this work of art alongside the proscenium wasn't preserved when the building underwent a conversion.

After viewing these photos and reading its history, the question on most people's minds becomes.........

 Wouldn't it have been much easier to work together to preserve and creatively reuse the Trylon Theater's historic Art Deco features, while undergoing conversion to a cultural center in 2005?

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