The Really Big Mess: ruined NYS map from ’64 World’s Fair

I thought I had seen or heard of it all when it came to the faded glories of the Empire State, but I guess I am too young to have heard of this: Down in Queens, at the former New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair, is a giant inlaid terrazzo map — a half-acre in size — of the entire state of New York. It precisely reproduces an old Texaco road map. Or should one say, “reproduced,” since it’s been neglected and weather-beaten to the point where only a few (downstate) sections of the map have been deemed salvageable. (Classic!)

It’s like something scraped up from Pompeii, a thousand years after Vesuvius. And you can see every inch of this colossal Ozymandian wreck at a website devoted to the restoration called The Really Big Map. (The NYT story about the restoration is here.)

Some of the damage to the map is apocalyptic, such as the large patched-over area running from Oneida to the Finger Lakes (Cortland County appears to be mostly gone). While Syracuse is mostly intact (though worn), the Southern Tier is crumbled and weedy, and Buffalo and NYC both appear to have been obliterated.

Infuriatingly, Albany appears to be none the worse for wear.