A 17-month project to renovate the Meadow Lake boathouse, built for the 1939 World’s Fair, will open in July at Flushing Meadows Park.
The $6 million makeover will be finished in time for the major summer boating season. The faciity is used by TASKA, a sailing group; Row NY, a student program; and the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Races, which are scheduled for Aug. 13 and 14.
The annual races draw 150 teams from the United States and Canada and thousands of fans.
During construction, the groups stored their equipment in temporary structures on the other side of the lake.
The project included adding a public bathroom, winterizing half the building and adding a sustainable dock. Added to the building were new windows, roof and brick facade. The plumbing is still being installed and until complete, portable toilets will be available to visitors.
The Parks Department hopes by winterizing part of the structure, groups will be able to meet there year-round.
During the boating season, there will be a food cart outside the adjacent boat and bike rental concession facility.
The boathouse is one of only two buildings left from the 1939 fair. The other is the Queens Museum of Art, which served as the New York City Pavilion.
The lake, which is the the city’s largest, was created for the fair by diverting the Flushing River and served as the amusement area for both the ‘39 and 1964-65 World’s Fair. During the later fair, the area included a wax museum, lake cruises and lots of rides.
The boathouse was first refurbished for the 1964 fair and included the addition of a refreshment stand. The eatery closed following a fire in 1980.
Besides the boathouse, the lake area fetures the Ederle passive recreation area that replaced the 1939 Aquacade, and two playgrounds, Triasic and Jurassic, that feature Plexiglas dinosaurs.