NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An iconic structure, best known as the centerpiece of the “New York World’s Fair,” has been designated as a “National Treasure” by The National Trust For Historic Preservation.

Officials made the announcement during a special celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the fair.

Crowds line up at the New York State Pavilion on April 22, 2014. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

The famed New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is now one of 44 “National Treasures” in the entire United States.


New York State Pavilion Named 'National Treasure'

1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports

The designation is given to “structures that are built to our architectural, social and political history. The kind of buildings we cannot imagine being without,” said Paul Goldberger of The National Trust For Historic Preservation.

The pavilion was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson.

It closed following the World’s Fair in 1964, though was occasionally used as a concert venue and a movie set.

Through the years it fell into a state of disrepair and has been rusting away for decades.

Recently there has been a push by activists to preserve the pavilion. Volunteers have even taken to painting the lower level of it  red, white and yellow to spruce it up, CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport reported.

Now with its newly minted designation as a National Treasure, many are hoping that talk of preserving and restoring this special structure will turn to action.

Tuesday was the first time in decades that visitors were allowed to go inside and tour the pavilion.

“I hope they fix it up and make it nice for the future generations to see,” said Tom Robinson, of Lindenhurst, who was first in line to take the tour. “I grew up here, I saw this back in ’64, I rode with the Mustangs in the Ford pavilion, I had my first Belgian waffle here.”

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