The World’s Fair Returns to Queens



The 1964 World’s Fair in New York drew over 51 million people to view in complete awe at its Technicolor visions of the future, sample exotic foods and join in singing along at the wildly popular “It’s a Small World” attraction. Fifty years later, New York City on Sunday, May 18th celebrated the fair’s remarkable impact with the hope of celebrating some of its wonder and promise with an anniversary festival.

The site, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where the monumental 140-foot steel Unisphere can still be readily seen from almost everywhere in the neighborhood and afar. The anniversary marked both the 1964 and 1939 fairs offered free exhibits, walking tours, memorabilia and performances.

The fair that opened in 1964 was an wild collection of water skiers and porpoises from Florida, slick cars from Detroit, futuristic underwater houses, DuPont’s Wonderful World of Chemistry, moving pedestrian sidewalks and a monorail gliding overhead. Astronauts made appearances, the Beatles did a helicopter flyover and Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture was on loan from the Vatican.

Unfortunately, life has not turned out to be quite as utopian as the fairs portrayed, but the anniversary festival left unforgettable memories for everyone.

Bits of the fair included statues, fragments of decorative mosaics and street signs. The Observation towers and the Tent of Tomorrow from the New York State pavilion still stand tall as hundreds of people walked all around the exhibits and park.

A chunky old  phone that was originally displayed at the fair 50 years ago was displayed as state of the art. And another exhibit showed a solar powered cell phone charging station. Aside from all the old pictures, great food and memorabilia, one artifact that really stuck out was the original Bat-mobile that Adam West himself drove in the TV series. And to end the fun filled day, there was also a Beatles tribute band and fireworks show to mark the celebration of 50 years since the World’s Fair came to town.

— by Lorraine Bishop ’14