Last week, I went the New York Hall of Science in Queens to take some scout pictures, my first time visiting.
The Hall of Science was originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair, and while it’s gone through many renovations over the years, this oddly-shaped cement portion speckled with black dots clearly dates back to its heyday. Honestly, it’s not the prettiest thing in Flushing Meadows, and I’ve never really given it a second thought.
About halfway through the tour, my guide brought me to a pair of unassuming doors marked, simply, Great Hall. What I didn’t realize is that we were about to enter this cement portion…
…and, without question, one of the most amazing rooms I’ve ever been in in New York City:
If the size of this room isn’t clear from my pictures, those are 100 foot ceilings. Here’s a picture with the lights on…
…and the lights off – note the exit door for comparison:
Standing in the darkened room, towered over by undulating walls of glowing blue glass, I literally felt like I had left the planet…which is exactly what the architects originally envisioned.
The Great Hall, originally the main exhibit area of the Hall of Science, was designed to give visitors the illusion of being in deep space. A docking spacecraft could originally be seen suspended high overhead.
Despite its somewhat austere appearance from the exterior, once inside, the walls take on a calming, wave-like feel:
Below, a close up of the Dalle de Verre glass, whose imperfections feel particularly extraterrestrial. Look closely in the above pictures and you’ll see the occasional bit of red or yellow:
With the lights turned on, the exposed framing feels like the interior of an Alien-esque spaceship:
With the lights off, that ship has long since gone, leaving you to float in the void:
In recent years, the Great Hall has been going through some much needed restoration work, and is currently off limits to the public. Work is scheduled to be finished in 2014, at which point it will then return as the centerpiece to the Hall of Science.
This awesome, appropriately futuristic support beam located directly below the center of the Great Hall is also original to the structure:
I’m a huge fan of retro-futurism, and this just screams Tomorrowland to me:
I can’t wait to see how the Great Hall is eventually reintroduced as part of the exhibits:
My hope is that it will continue to serve its original purpose in offering New Yorkers a way of leaving Planet Earth for a short while.