Given that it’s the 50th and 75th anniversaries of both World’s Fair events in Queens, we’ve been celebrating the World’s Fair quite a bit these days. Let’s continue! An Imgur user posted old slides, taken by their grandparents, from the 1964 World’s Fair. The photographs really are fantastic and you can see all 36 over here. After the jump, we posted a few of our favorites.
“From the World’s Fair to the World’s Park.” Expect to hear this new slogan a lot over the next six months as part of a dual effort to rebrand Flushing Meadows Corona Park and celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs that took place there. Yesterday, Maspeth-based Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey, who chairs the NY State Assembly’s Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports Committee, announced a $100,000 grant to the Queens Tourism Council to help it promote local World’s Fair commemorative events over the next six months. Cultural institutions such as the Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Museum, Queens Theatre and New York Hall of Science are planning special activities related to these anniversaries, and NYC Parks is ready to host a World’s Fair Festival on May 18. (Click here to see all the events.)Borough President Melinda Katz is also involved, co-chairing the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee with Assemblymember Markey and spearheading an effort to promote the Flushing green space as the “World’s Park.” These two elected officials will join other Queens leaders near the NY State Pavilion on April 22 to mark the exact 50th anniversary of the opening ceremonies for the 1964 World’s Fair. The rumor is that they will sing the National Anthem.
Editor’s Note: There was a pleasant surprise at yesterday’s Queens Tourism Council meeting at Queens Theatre. Mookie Wilson, a former Mets centerfielder who starred in the 1986 Worlds Series, passed by while taking a walk through Flushing Meadows Corona Park. He joined the photo and is seen standing, second from extreme left. Assemblywoman Markey is standing in the exact middle.
It’s time to party like it’s 1939… or 1964. Queens is the only county in the U.S. to host two World’s Fairs, and both historic events are celebrating major anniversaries this year (the fiftieth and seventy-fifth, respectively). On April 30, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated the first one in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which had just been created from a large tidal marsh and garbage dump. The air conditioner made its debut, as did color photographs, fluorescent lamps, nylon and pencil sharpeners. Early television sets and a futurist GM car were the rage as was a diner, which was relocated and is still open for business as the White Manna in Jersey City, NJ. Meanwhile Goldie Hawn, a teenager who had just moved from Maryland to NYC to pursue a career in showbiz, was discovered as a chorus line dancer at the Texas pavilion during the 1964 World’s Fair. The Ford Mustang, Unisphere and Belgian waffle (above) all owe part of their fame to this fair, which actually ran for two, six-month seasons in 1964 and 1965 and attracted more than 51 million people. Corona resident Louis Armstrong (arriving at the scene below) played his trumpet, and various countries and regions promoted their good sides. Wisconsin had a pavilion exhibiting the planet’s largest chunk of cheese, while Miami displayed a parrot jungle, and Hawaii operated the Five Volcanoes restaurant.
On March 22nd, this year’s first World’s Fair-related commemorative event will take place when the Greater Astoria Historical Society screens The World of Tomorrow, a film on the 1939 Fair. Then, over the next six months, the New York Hall of Science, Noguchi Museum, Parks Department, Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Center, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, Queens Theatre, The Port Authority of NY & NJ and other local entities, such as the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, will hold exhibits, plays, concerts and even a beer festival to commemorate.
Over the weekend we were perusing old NY World’s Fair photos and we got to wondering… would you like to see another World’s Fair in NYC? And if so, where? Flushing Meadows Park again? Somewhere else? It’s a fun thing to think about. The next one will be Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments or via twitter at @queensnycity!
We stumbled across this film footage taken during the 1964-65 NY World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park. The kids, Danny and Bobby, are adorable, and make an appearance throughout the film, waving at the camera or petting what looks like a big hairy bison. Their grandfather, Gus Martens, was behind the 8mm camera for the daytime shots, and spliced in the night footage at the end from a souvenir newsreel.
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. (more…)
Over the weekend we came across this extremely engaging site full of images – from postcards, booklets and brochures – of the 1964/1965 Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadows Park. The site is AlamedaInfo.com. There are a lot of images, and we’ve included some of our favorites. Click on the images to view them larger – it’s well worth it. (more…)