Triple anniversary, double digit authors, one huge celebration. The Queens Theatre was established in 1989 in the former Theaterama site, which is one of only three buildings remaining from the 1964 World’s Fair. The performance space is marking these 25- and 50-year milestones by presenting The World’s Fair Play Festival over nine days. Ten playwrights have created 10 original, 10-minute pieces inspired by the 1939 (a 75-year milestone) and/or 1964 World’s Fairs, both of which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In these dramas, six main actors work with three directors and a small ensemble to encourage audiences to look into the future with the same optimism and hope that the two Queens World’s Fairs inspired in their visitors. The participants are celebrated writers and actors, including Todd Almond (Lear deBessonet’s The Tempest at the Public Theater, Girlfriend); Deen (Public Theatre Emerging Writers Group; Draw The Circle, Queens Theatre and elsewhere); and Kristoffer Diaz (Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety, Welcome to Arroyo’s, Queens Theatre and Lark Play Development Center).

Details: The World’s Fair Play Festival, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows Corona Park, July 18th through July 27th, $18 with the following schedule: Friday, July 18th through 20th; Friday, July 25th through 27th; Fridays, 8 pm; Saturdays, 2 pm and 8 pm; Sundays, 3 pm.

Photos: Queens Theatre


We’ve been celebrating the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs all month, but today’s actually the opening day of the 1939 World’s Fair 75 years ago. The Parks Department posted some history and photos of the event: “Highlights like the ‘Town of Tomorrow’ with futuristic model homes, Billy Rose’s Aquacade on Meadow Lake, the Life-Savers Parachute Tower, General Motors’ ‘Futurama’ depicting the world of 1960, and new inventions such as color film, nylon stockings, television, and air conditioning.” Before the 1939 Fair came to town, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was just a swamp and ash dump. After the jump, check out a picture of the barren area in 1936, during the park’s construction.

1939 World’s Fair in Photos [NYC Parks]

Photos via NYC Parks


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.

Details: Click here for a full list of events, times and locations.