Updated 04/12/2011 04:25 PM
Queens Museum Breaks Ground On $65M Expansion
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The Queens Museum broke ground Tuesday on a $65 million expansion.
The conversion of the old ice skating rink will add another 50,000 square feet of space to the museum, doubling its size.
Upon completion it will include galleries, classrooms, public event spaces, a cafe and museum store.
The museum director estimates 250,000 people drive by the Queens Museum every day on the Grand Central Parkway and don't even know the treasures it holds.
"A lot of people grew up in Queens, they don't know where we are. We're clearing the trees away -- moving the trees away. There's going to be a 220 foot long work of art on that side of the building facing the Grand Central, so you will know where the Queens Museum is," said Queens Museum Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl.
About $48 million for the expansion project is coming from the city. The rest is being funded through the state and private donors.
"Even in these difficult budgetary days, when all agencies are tightening their belts, this really is a wise investment in our city's future," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The museum currently takes up part of a building constructed for the 1939 Worlds Fair. It was also once home to the United Nations General Assembly.
The expansion is set to be finished in 2013.
Other parts of the museum, including the New York City panorama, will remain open during the renovations.
For more information, visit QueensMuseum.org.