It was so nice they did it twice. Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosted the 1939-1940 World’s Fair and the one that ran in 1964 and 1965. Both events — which took place over two, consecutive, six-month periods — had major impact on Queens and the rest of the world. Plus, both are currently celebrating major anniversaries (50th and 75th). This Sunday, a group of Urban Park Rangers will lead a tour through the park that will highlight the remnants and their roles in these historic fairs. More details after jump.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated the borough’s first World’s Fair on April 30, 1939, Flushing Meadows Corona Park had just been created from a garbage dump/ash heap and marshland. With the theme “Dawn of a New Day,” the air conditioner debuted there, as did color photographs, fluorescent lamps, nylon, pencil sharpeners, TV sets, and a diner, which was relocated to Jersey City and is still operating with the name “White Manna.”
With the theme “Peace Through Understanding, the 1964 World’s Fair launched Goldie Hawn’s career, the Ford Mustang, and the Unisphere, which is the world’s most recognized Queens-located structure today. Not to mention what is now the Queens Museum, the Queens Theatre, the Queens Zoo, the Queens Botanical Garden, and parts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Hawn, just a teenager, was a can-can dancer in a chorus line. Henry Ford II unveiled the Mustang at the Ford pavilion on April 17, 1964.
Details: Historic New York: The World’s Fair, meet at the Unisphere, Sunday, February 1st, 1 pm, free, more info at 718.352.1769.