They Might Be Giants filmed iconic music video inside the New York State Pavilion in the 80s


Image source: Shoberpants on Wikimedia Commons

This year is the 30th anniversary of They Might Be Giants, a band that has been described as alternative, experimental, independent, and all number of adjectives and genre names that try to pin down its zany style. Amazingly enough for an 80s band, John Flansburgh and John Linnell of TMBG are still together, recording and performing.

Brooklyn-based TMBG filmed one of their most popular videos – for the 1986 song “Don’t Let’s Start” – in Queens, inside the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Park. As we mentioned in our recent feature on the World’s Fairs, the pavilion once served as a theater in the round, and has since fallen into a state of disrepair. But before the mosaic floor map of New York state crumbled, the band members played guitar, kneeled, crawled, jumped and pounded on the intact map in all their eccentric angst. (Skip to 0:51 in the video for a flyover view of the map.)


The “Don’t Let’s Start” video is a fun tribute to Queens, and especially cool because it’s filmed right inside the pavilion, which has been off limits to the public for decades. So even if you’re not a TMBG fan, you can get a better sense of what the structure looked like from the inside – a couple of decades before it looked like this:


We hope the Johns, who now focus mainly on children’s music, come back soon to Flushing Meadows Park to perform, like they did in 2009 for a New York Hall of Science benefit.