1964 New York World's Fair

View of the New York World's Fair from the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion; the Unisphere is at the left

The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair was the third major world's fair to be held in New York City.[1] Hailing itself as a "universal and international" exposition, the fair's theme was "Peace Through Understanding," dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe"; although American corporations dominated the exposition as exhibitors. The theme was symbolized by a 12-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth called Unisphere.[2] The fair ran for two six-month seasons, April 22–October 18, 1964 and April 21–October 17, 1965. Admission price for adults (13 and older) was $2.00 in 1964 but $2.50 in 1965, and $1.00 for children (2–12) both years.[3]

The site, Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the borough of Queens, had also held the 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair. It was one of the largest world's fairs to be held in the United States, occupying nearly a square mile (2.6 km²) of land. The only larger fair was the 1939 fair, which occupied space that was filled in for the 1964/1965 exposition. Preceding these fairs was the 1853-54 New York’s World’s Fair, called the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, located on the site of Bryant Park in the borough of Manhattan, New York City.

The fair is best remembered as a showcase of mid-20th century American culture and technology. The nascent Space Age, with its vista of promise, was well-represented. More than 51 million people attended the fair, less than the hoped-for 70 million. It remains a touchstone for New York–area Baby Boomers, who visited the optimistic fair as children before the turbulent years of the Vietnam War, cultural changes, and increasing struggles for civil rights

In many ways this fair symbolized a grand consumer show covering many products produced in America at the time for transportation, living, and consumer electronic needs in a way that would never be repeated at future worlds fair held in North America. Most American companies from pen manufacturers to auto companies had a major presence at the fair. This fair was the first one that gave an average American interaction with computer equipment as many corporations demonstrated the use of mainframe computers, teletype machines, punch cards, and telephone modems in days before the internet and home computers were at everyone's disposal.


Controversial beginnings

The 1964/1965 Fair was conceived by a group of New York businessmen who fondly remembered their childhood experiences at the 1939 New York World's Fair and wanted to provide that same experience for their children and grandchildren. Thoughts of an economic boom to the city as the result of increased tourism was also a major reason for holding another fair 25 years after the 1939/1940 extravaganza. Then-New York City mayor, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., commissioned Frederick Pittera, a producer of International fairs and exhibitions and author of the history of International Fairs & Exhibitions for the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Compton Encyclopedia to prepare the first feasibility studies for the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. He was joined by Austrian Architect Victor Gruen (creator of the shopping mall) in studies that eventually led the Eisenhower Commission to award the world's fair to New York City in competition with a number of American cities.

Souvenir bag art

Organizers turned to private financing and the sale of bonds to pay the huge costs to stage them. The organizers hired New York's "Master Builder," Robert Moses, to head the corporation established to run the fair because he was experienced in raising money for vast public projects. Moses had been a formidable figure in the city since coming to power in the 1930s. He was responsible for the construction of much of the city's highway infrastructure and, as parks commissioner for decades, the creation of much of the city's park system.

In the mid-1930s, Moses oversaw the conversion of a vast Queens tidal marsh/garbage dump into the fairgrounds that hosted the 1939/1940 World's Fair.[4] Called Flushing Meadows Park, it was Moses' grandest park scheme. He envisioned this vast park, comprising some 1,300 acres (5 km²) of land and located in the center of the city, as a major recreational playground for New Yorkers. When the 1939/1940 World's Fair ended in financial failure, Moses did not have the available funds to complete work on his project. He saw the 1964/1965 Fair as a means to finish what the earlier fair had begun.

To ensure profits to complete the park, fair organizers knew they would have to maximize receipts. An attendance of 70 million people would be needed to turn a profit and, for attendance that large, the fair would need to be held for two years. The World's Fair Corporation also decided to charge site rental fees to all exhibitors who wished to construct pavilions on the grounds. This decision caused the fair to come into conflict with the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), the international body headquartered in Paris that sanctions world's fairs: BIE rules stated that an international exposition could run for one six-month period only, and no rent could be charged to exhibitors. In addition, the rules allowed only one exposition in any given country within a 10-year period, and the Seattle World's Fair had already been sanctioned for 1962.[4]

The United States was not a member of the BIE at the time, but fair organizers understood that a sanction by the BIE would assure that its nearly 40 member nations would participate in the fair. Moses, undaunted by the rules, journeyed to Paris to seek official approval for the New York fair. When the BIE balked at New York's bid, Moses, used to having his way in New York, angered the BIE delegates by taking his case to the press, publicly stating his disdain for the BIE and its rules.[4] The BIE retaliated by formally requesting its member nations not to participate in the New York fair.[4] The 1939/1940 and 1964/1965 New York World's Fairs were the only significant world's fairs since the formation of the BIE to be held without its endorsement.

International participation

View of the Unisphere with world flags

The BIE decision was nearly a disaster for the fair. The absence of Canada, Australia, most of the major European nations and the Soviet Union, all members of the BIE, tarnished the image of the fair.[4] Additionally, New York was forced to compete with both Seattle and Montreal for international participants, with many nations choosing the officially sanctioned world's fairs of those cities over the New York Fair. The fair turned to trade and tourism organizations within many countries to host national exhibits in lieu of official government sponsorship of pavilions.

New York City, in the middle of the 20th century, was at a zenith of economic power and world prestige. Unconcerned by BIE rules, nations with smaller economies (as well as private groups in (or relevant to) some BIE members[5][6][7][8][9]) saw it as an honor to host an exhibit at the Fair.[citation needed] Therefore smaller nations and third world countries made up the majority of the international participation. Spain,[10] Vatican City,[11] Japan,[12] Mexico,[13] Sweden,[14] Austria,[15] Denmark,[16] Thailand,[17] Philippines,[18] Greece,[19] and Pakistan,[20] to name some, hosted national presences at the Fair.

The West Berlin Pavilion

One of the fair's most popular exhibits was the Vatican Pavilion, where Michelangelo's Pietà was displayed, and a small plaza marking the spot (and Pope Paul VI's visit in October 1965) remains there. A copy was transported beforehand to ensure that the statue could be conveyed without being damaged. This copy is on view at St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, in Yonkers.

A recreation of a medieval Belgian village proved very popular. Fairgoers were treated to the "Bel-Gem Brussels Waffle"—a combination of waffle, strawberries and whipped cream, sold by a Brussels couple, Maurice Vermersch and his wife.[21]

Fairgoers could also enjoy sampling sandwiches from around the world at the popular Seven Up International Gardens Pavilion which featured the innovative fiberglass Seven Up Tower.[22][23] While dining, visitors were treated to live performances of international music by the 7-Up Continental Band as well as musical selections from the Broadway stage.[24][25]

Emerging African nations displayed their wares in the Africa Pavilion. Controversy broke out when the Jordanian pavilion displayed a mural emphasizing the plight of the Palestinian people. The Jordanians also donated an ancient column which remains at their site. The city of West Berlin, a Cold War hot-spot, hosted a popular display.

Federal and state exhibits

The US Pavilion was titled "Challenge to Greatness" and focused on President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" proposals. The main show in the multi-million dollar pavilion was a 15-minute ride through a filmed presentation of American history. Visitors seated in moving grandstands rode past movie screens that slid in, out and over the path of the traveling audience. Elsewhere, there were tributes to President John F. Kennedy, who had broken ground for the pavilion in December 1962 but had been assassinated in November 1963 before the fair opened.

A 2-acre (8,100 m2) United States Space Park was sponsored by NASA, the Department of Defense and the fair. Exhibits included a full-scale model of the aft skirt and five F-1 engines of the first stage of a Saturn V, a Titan II booster with a Gemini capsule, an Atlas with a Mercury capsule and a Thor-Delta rocket. On display at ground level were Aurora 7, the Mercury capsule flown on the second US manned orbital flight; full-scale models of an X-15 aircraft, an Agena upper stage; a Gemini spacecraft; an Apollo command/service module, and a Lunar Excursion Model. Replicas of unmanned spacecraft included lunar probe Ranger VII; Mariner II and Mariner IV; Syncom, Telstar I, and Echo II communications satellites; Explorer I and Explorer XVI; and Tiros and Nimbus weather satellites.[26]

The Wisconsin Pavilion

New York State played host to the fair at its six million dollar open-air pavilion called the "Tent of Tomorrow." Designed by famed modernist architect Philip Johnson, the pavilion also boasted the fair's high spot observation towers. The main floor of the pavilion was a large scale design of a Texaco highway map of New York State. An idea floated after the fair to use the floor for the World Trade Center didn't materialize. Once the red ceiling tiles were removed from the pavilion in the late 1970s, the floor was subject to the elements of weather and was ruined. The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair New York State Pavilion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[27]

Wisconsin exhibited the "World's Largest Cheese." Florida brought a dolphin show, flamingos, a talented cockatoo from Miami's Parrot Jungle, and water skiers to New York. Oklahoma gave weary fairgoers a restful park to relax in. Missouri displayed the state's space-related industries. Visitors could dine at Hawaii's "Five Volcanoes" restaurant. At the New York City pavilion, a huge scale model of the City of New York was on display complete with a simulated helicopter ride for easy viewing. Left over from the 1939 Fair, this building had also hosted the United Nations from 1947-1952.

American industry in the spotlight

At the 1939/1940 World's Fair, industrial exhibitors played a major role by hosting huge, elaborate exhibits. Many of them returned to the 1964/1965 fair with even more elaborate versions of the shows they had presented twenty-five years earlier. The most notable of these was General Motors Corporation whose Futurama, a show in which visitors seated in moving chairs glided past detailed scenery showing what life might be like in the "near-future," proved to be the fair's most popular exhibit. Nearly 26 million people took the journey into the future during the fair's two-year run.

Concept car inside the General Motors Pavilion

Other popular exhibits included that of the IBM Corporation, where a giant five hundred-seat grandstand was pushed by hydraulic rams high up into a rooftop theater. There, a nine-screen film showed the workings of computer logic. IBM also demonstrated handwriting recognition on a 350 series mainframe computer running a program to look up what happened on a particular date that a person wrote down—the first interaction for many with a computer. The Bell System hosted a 15-minute ride in moving armchairs depicting the history of communications in dioramas and film. Other Bell exhibits included the picture phone (to go on sale at the time of the fair) as well as a demonstration of the computer modem. DuPont presented a musical review by composer Michael Brown called "The Wonderful World of Chemistry." At Parker Pen, a computer would make a match to an international penpal. The Westinghouse Corporation planted a second time capsule next to the 1939 one; today both Westinghouse Time Capsules are marked by a monument southwest of the Unisphere which is to be opened in the year 6939. Some of its contents were a World's Fair Guidebook, an electric toothbrush, credit cards and a 50-star U.S. flag.

The Westinghouse Pavilion

The Sinclair Oil Corporation sponsored Dinoland, featuring life-size replicas of nine different dinosaurs, including the corporation's signature brontosaurus. After the fair closed, Dinoland spent a period of time as a traveling exhibit. After the traveling exhibit ended the Stegosaurus model was donated to Dinosaur National Monument and is still on display to this day.

The fair was also a showplace for independent films. One of the most noted was a religious film titled Parable which showed at the Protestant Pavilion. It depicted humanity as a traveling circus and Christ as a clown.[28] This marked the beginning of a new depiction of Jesus,[29] and was the inspiration for the musical Godspell. Parable later went on to be honored at Cannes, as well as the Edinburgh Film Festival and Venice Film Festival.[29] Another religious film was presented by the evangelist Billy Graham, who sponsored his own pavilion. The film Man in the 5th Dimension was shot in the 70mm Todd-AO widescreen process for exclusive presentation in a specially designed theater equipped with audio equipment that enabled viewers to listen to the film in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.[30]

The surprise hit of the fair was a non-commercial movie short presented by the SC Johnson Company (S.C. Johnson Wax) called To Be Alive! The film celebrated the joy of life found worldwide and in all cultures, and it would later win a special award from the New York Film Critics Circle and an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

The Ford Motor Company introduced the Ford Mustang automobile to the public at its pavilion on April 17, 1964.

Disney influence


The fair also is remembered as the vehicle Walt Disney utilized to design and perfect the system of "Audio-Animatronics", in which a combination of sound, mechanical electronics and computers controls the movement of lifelike robots to act out scenes.[31] The Walt Disney Company designed and created four shows at the fair:

  • In the Pepsi Presents WALT DISNEY'S "it's a small world" - a Salute to UNICEF and the World's Children attraction at the Pepsi pavilion, animated dolls and animals frolicked in a spirit of international unity on a boat ride around the world. The song was provided by the Sherman Brothers. Each of the animated dolls had an identical face, originally designed by New York (Valley Stream) artist Gregory S. Marinello in partnership with Walt Disney himself.
  • General Electric sponsored "Progressland" where an audience seated in a revolving auditorium viewed an audio-animatronic presentation of the progress of electricity in the home. The Sherman Brothers song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was composed for this attraction. The highlight of the exhibit demonstrated a brief plasma "explosion" of controlled nuclear fusion. The crowd pleasing loud crack that was produced could be heard even on the line outside in the neighboring Travelers Insurance pavilion.
  • Ford Motor Company presented "Ford's Magic Skyway," an WED Imanineering designed pavilion, which was the second most popular exhibit at the fair, utilizing 50 motorless convertible Ford Mustangs in an early prototype of what would become the PeopleMover ride system to move the audience through scenes featuring life-sized audio-animatronic dinosaurs (which were later moved to the Disneyland Railroad Primeval World diorama) and cavemen. The Walt Disney Company had earlier been asked by General Motors to produce their exhibit, but they declined.[citation needed]

After the fair, there was some discussion of the Disney company retaining these exhibits on-site and converting Flushing Meadows Park into an east coast version of Disneyland,[citation needed] but this idea was abandoned. Instead, Disney relocated several of these exhibits to Disneyland and subsequently replicated them at other Disney theme parks. Walt Disney World is essentially the realization of the original concept of an "east coast Disneyland" with Epcot Center designed as a "permanent" world's fair. All four attractions are still represented in one way or another: Two attractions from the fair are relatively unchanged, including a replica of "it's a small world" and the original (albeit updated) Carousel of Progress. The two remaining attractions exist as evolutions of the originals: The dinosaurs from Ford's Magic Skyway became the Disneyland Railroad Primeval World diorama and the motorized tires embedded in the track which propelled and regulated the speed of ride vehicles inspired Disneyland's PeopleMover, and later the Tomorrowland Transit Authority of Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom; and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was expanded into The Hall of Presidents. Meanwhile, Disneyland still hosts the original "it's a small world" and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln transferred from New York, as well as the now-unused track of the original Disneyland PeopleMover based on the Ford's Magic Skyway. The original Carousel of Progress was first moved to Disneyland in 1967 and then to its current home at the Magic Kingdom in 1973.

Failure of amusements

One of the fair's major shortcomings was the absence of a midway. The fair's organizers were opposed, on principle, to the honky-tonk atmosphere engendered by midways, and this was another thing that irked the BIE, which insisted that all officially sanctioned fairs have a midway. What amusements the fair actually had ended up being largely dull. The Meadow Lake Amusement Area wasn't easily accessible, and officials objected to shows being advertised. Furthermore, although the Amusement Area was supposed to remain open for four hours after the exhibits closed at 10 p.m., the fair presented a fountain-and-fireworks show every night at 9 p.m. at the Pool of Industry. Fairgoers would see this show and then leave the fair rather than head to the Amusement Area; one was hard pressed to see anyone on the fairgrounds by midnight. The fair's big entertainment spectacles, including the "Wonder World" at the Meadow Lake Amphitheater, "To Broadway with Love" in the Texas Pavilion, and Dick Button's "Ice-travaganza" in the New York City Pavilion, all closed early, with heavy losses. It was apparent fairgoers did not go to the fair for its entertainment value, especially as there was plenty of entertainment in Manhattan.[32]

Controversial ending

The fair ended in controversy over allegations of financial mismanagement. Controversy had plagued it during much of its two-year run. The Fair Corporation had taken in millions of dollars in advance ticket sales for both the 1964 and 1965 seasons. However, the receipts of these sales were booked entirely against the first season of the fair.[4] This made it appear that the fair had plenty of operating cash when, in fact, it was borrowing from the second season's gate to pay the bills. Before and during the 1964 season, the fair spent much money despite attendance that was below expectations. By the end of the 1964 season, Moses and the press began to realize that there would not be enough money to pay the bills and the fair teetered on bankruptcy.[4]

While the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair returned 40 cents on the dollar to bond investors, the 1964/1965 fair returned only 19.2 cents on the dollar.[4]

Reuse of pavilions

Aerial view of the remaining structures in Flushing Meadows in 2004

Like its predecessor, the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair lost money. It was unable to repay its financial backers their investment, and it became embroiled in legal disputes with its creditors until 1970, when the books were finally closed and the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation was dissolved. Most of the pavilions constructed for the fair were demolished within six months following the fair's close. While only a handful of pavilions survived, some of them traveled great distances and found reuse following the fair:

  • The Austria pavilion became a ski lodge at Cockaigne Ski Resort in western New York. On January 25, 2011 the building was destroyed by fire.[33]
  • The Wisconsin pavilion's front tee-pee-like portion became a radio station in Neillsville, Wisconsin. The pavilion's large rear structure that formed a squat-looking "H" (if seen from above) is the combined kitchen, dining hall, and recreation hall of Camp Ramah in upstate Lakewood, Pennsylvania.
  • The US Royal tire-shaped Ferris wheel was relocated to become a landmark along Interstate 94 in the Metro Detroit Downriver community of Allen Park, Michigan.
  • The Pavilion of Spain relocated to St. Louis, Missouri and is now a part of a Hilton Hotel.
  • The Parker Pen pavilion became offices for the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
  • The Johnson Wax disc-shaped theater was reworked and became part of the S.C. Johnson Wax complex in Racine, Wisconsin designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • The stained glass windows from the Vatican pavilion were built into Saint Mary's Church in Groton, Connecticut.
  • The Christian Science pavilion became a church in Poway, California. The structure was demolished in 2006.
  • The Mormon pavilion became a church in Plainview, New York, dedicated December 2, 1967 and still in use.
  • A large oil painting of a woman, painted in 1964 by Roy Lichtenstein and titled "New York World's Fair", is in the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • The carillon from the Coca-Cola Pavilion was moved to Stone Mountain Park, near Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Probability Machine in the IBM pavilion was relocated to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle to become part of a mathematics exhibit sponsored by IBM which ran for many years.
  • The illuminated "G" from the large fiberglass square and compasses that stood in front of the Masonic Brotherhood Center was moved to the New York Masonic Home campus in Utica, New York and installed into a smaller sculpture. The Grand Lodge of New York installed a bronze sculpture by artist Donald De Lue of George Washington in Masonic regalia at the fairgrounds after it closed. It still stands near the soccer fields. (De Lue also sculpted the Fair's iconic "Rocket Thrower" sculpture.)
  • As noted, the Disney-created attraction "it's a small world" was transferred to Disneyland, along with the "Carousel of Progress" and the first Abraham Lincoln audio-animatronics figure for the original "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" show. Scenery and the audio-animatronics dinosaurs from the Ford Magic Skyway show were installed in the Disneyland Railroad's Primeval World Diorama, and the attraction's actual WEDway ride system was improved upon and used for Tomorrowland's PeopleMover.
  • Some of the light fixtures that lined the walkways can be found still functioning at Penn Hills Resort in the Poconos, Analomink, Pennsylvania, the Orange County Fairgrounds in Middletown, New York, and Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire.[34]
  • The Skyway tower structures and gondolas were moved to Six Flags Great Adventure (at that time called Great Adventure) in New Jersey for use from 1974 to the present.[35]
  • The New England Pavilion was disassembled and moved to South Portland, Maine where most of it was reassembled and still in use today as a small shopping mall at 50 Maine Mall Road.
  • The Travelors Exhibit is on display in a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, reference AAA Travel Guide.


The Unisphere on July 31, 2010.

New York City was left with a much improved Flushing Meadows Park following the fair, taking possession of the park from the Fair Corporation in June 1967. It is heavily used for both walking and recreation. The paths and their names remain almost unchanged from the days of the fair.

At the center of the park stands the symbol of "Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe" – the fair's Unisphere symbol, depicting our earth of "The Space Age". The Unisphere was made famous again in 1997 when it was featured in the film Men in Black. The Unisphere has become a symbol of Queens, and has appeared on the cover of the county's phone books. The city also received a multi-million dollar Science Museum and Space Park exhibiting the rockets and vehicles used in America's early space exploration projects.

The observatory towers in 2006

Both the New York State pavilion and the US Pavilion were retained for future use. No reuse was ever found for the US Pavilion, and it became severely deteriorated and vandalized before being demolished in 1977. The New York State pavilion also found no residual use other than as TV and movie sets, such as an episode of McCloud; for The Wiz; and part of the setting (and the plot) for Men in Black. In the decades after the fair closed, it remains an abandoned and badly neglected relic, with its roof gone and the once bright floors and walls almost faded away. In 1994, the Queens Theatre took over the Circarama adjacent to the towers and continues to operate there, using the ruined state pavilion as a storage depot.

The Space Park deteriorated due to neglect, but the surviving rockets were restored and placed back on display in 2004. It is presently open again as part of the New York Hall of Science, a portion of which is a remnant of the fair. The fair's Heliport has found reuse as a banquet/catering facility called "Terrace on the Park".

In 1978, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, as it is now called, became the home of the United States Tennis Association, and the US Open tennis tournament is played there annually. The former Singer Bowl, later renamed Louis Armstrong Stadium, was the tournament's primary venue until the larger Arthur Ashe Stadium was built on the site of the former Federal Pavilion and opened in August 1997. Collectively, the complex is called the USTA National Tennis Center.

The R36 cars built for the IRT 7 subway route that served the 1964 fair ran the route for over 39 years afterwards, with some cars lasting into 2003. Some of them still survive today in work use or storage.

The former New York City building is home to the Queens Museum of Art and continues to display the multi-million dollar model of the city of New York. This historic structure also (as of 2007) has an excellent display of memorabilia from the two fairs. The section where the early United Nations General Assembly met has now reverted back to its historic role as an ice skating rink.

Shea Stadium, while not part of the fairgrounds proper, was opened at the same time as the fair and was listed in the fair's maps. It was the home of the New York Mets baseball team until 2008. It was demolished and the space used for parking for the adjacent new stadium (Citi Field) in 2009. During the 1964 and 1965 Seasons, the team added a World's Fair commemorative patch to the left sleeve of their home jersey and the right sleeve of their road jersey.[36]

Commemorative postage stamps were produced for the fair, souvenir medals were issued, and a lot of memorabilia remains in private hands. There is significant interest in collecting these pieces. Items of all types, many quite inexpensive, frequently appear in sales.

For many years the fair's amateur radio station console was used by the American Radio Relay League. Later sold, in 2006 it was purchased by a Collins Radio collector in Texas.[37]

Also, parts of Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida may have been inspired by the 1964 New York World's Fair.[citation needed] The entrance to the park has a globe that resembles the Unisphere with "Universal Studios" on it (although Universal Studios began using the globe as its logo decades earlier), and an area of the park called "World Expo" that features worldly music and flags of many nations. In 1999, the World Expo area expanded and opened the Men In Black: Alien Attack attraction with recreations of New York observatory towers in front of the building. The attraction itself is based on a fictional World's Fair pavilion. Visitors enter as tourists but soon ride an elevator to the facility and learn that they are trying out to be a part of the Men in Black.

Walt Disney moved most of his attractions from the fair to Disneyland. Today, "it's a small world" is still active, Mr. Lincoln returned in late 2009 after a four year hiatus. Parts of Ford's Magic Skyway are installed along the Disneyland Railroad, while the Carousel of Progress still spins at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. "it's a small world" is an attraction at all five Disney Magic Kingdom-style parks, and its theme song is among the most popular on the planet. Disney used the technologies from the fair to create the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and Epcot Center's original attractions borrowed heavily from the audio-animatronic advances of the fair and its general ideals.[citation needed]

In 1995, PBS produced The 1964 World's Fair, a 52-minute documentary about the fair, narrated by Judd Hirsch.[38]

In the 2010 movie Iron Man 2, Flushing Meadow Park is where the fictional Stark Expo 2010 and Stark Expo 74 take place.

Use in sports

Many of the funds from the fair went into the building of Shea Stadium. This building served as home for the New York Mets baseball team from 1964 to 2008, when it was demolished. The stadium played host to the World Series four times, in 1969, 1973, 1986, and 2000. The Mets moved to the stadium from the aging Polo Grounds in Manhattan. Shea Stadium also served as the home of the New York Jets from 1964 to 1983, the New York Yankees in 1974 and 1975 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated, and the New York Giants in 1975. In the Mets' new ballpark, Citi Field, there is a food court called the World's Fare Market which pays homage to the team's connection to the fair. The Unisphere and the top of the NY Pavilion can be seen from the food court entrance/exit.[39]

Cultural references

  • The Riddler hides in the World's Fair in one episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
  • New York native band They Might Be Giants has paid homage to the fair several times:[40]
  • The Unisphere, observatory towers, and New York state pavilion can be seen as a site in Grand Theft Auto IV as part of "Meadows Park" in the borough of Dukes.
  • In the 1997 film Men in Black, the observation towers are revealed to contain the ships used by the first extraterrestrials to visit Earth. The World's Fair was organized to cover up the evidence of their landing ("Why else would they hold it in Queens?" says Agent K).
  • The Flight of the Conchords TV show often films at Flushing Meadows Park, with the Unisphere and observatory towers as a backdrop.
  • Queens based rap duo M.O.P. appears in front of the Unisphere throughout the video for their song "World Famous"
  • Unisphere and Tent of Tomorrow in Flushing Meadows, and part of World's Fair park appeared in CSI: NY's season 6 episode Manhattanhenge.
  • The fair was the inspiration and design for the Gotham City's World Fair in the 1993 animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
  • The Simpsons episode "Marge vs. the Monorail" showed the poorly-built monorail system starting to decay by showing the decal that says "Springfield Monorail" come undone, revealing that the original decal reads "1964 World's Fair Model".
  • In Iron Man 2, the Stark Expo was filmed on the site of the 1964 World's Fair.
  • The 1966 Woody Allen play, Don't Drink the Water has the line "I'm a failure ... not just a little failure - I'm a big failure - like the World's Fair"
  • The area is recreated in the Broker/Dukes area of Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • The Unisphere and observation towers are a backdrop during a portion of the opening credits to the CBS comedy "The King of Queens."
  • In the 1987 cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder and Krang use an abandoned building from the 1964 World's Fair as their hideout when they lose access to their normal base of operations.


Westinghouse Time Capsule  
RCA Pavilion  
Johnson Wax Pavilion  
Kodak Pavilion  
Ford Pavilion  
Transportation and Travel Pavilion  
Alaska Pavilion  
Hong Kong Pavilion  
General Motors Pavilion  


  • World's Fair Legacies William P. Young.[41]
  • Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Today William P. Young.[42]
  • International Participation in the New York World's Fair 1964–1965 Sharyn Elise Jackson.[43]
  • Editors, Time-Life Books Official Guide: 1964–1965 New York World's Fair . Book Sales: 1963-1965.
  • Third Supplemental Report on New York World's Fair 1964–1965 Corporation Covering Operations from Inception to December 31, 1966. October 26, 1967.[44]
  • The 1964–1965 New York World's Fair: Creation and Legacy. Bill Cotter, Bill Young. Arcadia Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7385-5745-8.[45]
  • The End of the Innocence: The 1964–1965 New York World's Fair. Lawrence R. Samuel. Syracuse University Press, 2007.
  • New York Public Library archives of '64–'65 World's Fair. Manuscripts & Archives Division of Fair Administration, Construction, Maintenance, Participation, and Public Relations.[46]


  1. ^ Archdiocese History, Archdiocese of New York. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
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  3. ^ NY Times Article
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Caro, Robert (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-394-48076-3. 
  5. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Pavilion of Paris - Page One". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. http://www.nywf64.com/pavpar01.shtml. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  6. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Berlin - Page One". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. http://www.nywf64.com/berlin01.shtml. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  7. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Belgian Village - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/belvil01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Switzerland - Page Two". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/switz02.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  9. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Fiesta - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/fiesta01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  10. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Spain - Page One". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. http://www.nywf64.com/spain01.shtml. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  11. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Vatican - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/vatican01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  12. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Japan - Page One". Nywf64.com. 1964-08-16. http://www.nywf64.com/japan01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  13. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Mexico - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/mexico01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  14. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Sweden - Page One". Nywf64.com. 1964-08-30. http://www.nywf64.com/sweden01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  15. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Austria - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/austria01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  16. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Denmark - Page One". Nywf64.com. 1965-05-09. http://www.nywf64.com/denmark01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  17. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Thailand - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/thai01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  18. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Philippines - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/philip01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  19. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Greece - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://www.nywf64.com/greece01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  20. ^ "Pavilions & Attractions - Pakistan - Page One". Nywf64.com. 1965-08-15. http://www.nywf64.com/pakist01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  21. ^ see photo at http://www.worldsfairphotos.com/nywf64/aerial-ride.htm for the "Bel-Gem" Brussels Waffle sign
  22. ^ The New York Times, September 29, 1964, Pg. 21
  23. ^ The New York Times, May 31, 1964, p. R1
  24. ^ The New York Times, September 12, 1964, Pg. 21
  25. ^ The New York TimesOctober 16, 1964, Pg. 31
  26. ^ Stanton, Jeffrey "Showcasing Technology at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair" (2006) http://www.westland.net/ny64fair/map-docs/technology.htm
  27. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-06-25. http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listings/20100625.htm. 
  28. ^ Parable (1964) - IMDb
  29. ^ a b "The films of Rolf Forsberg". Arts and Faith. http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=6350. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  30. ^ "Man in the 5th Dimension," In 70mm News / The 70mm Newsletter
  31. ^ The History of Disney’s Audio Animatronics - Disney Blog at Magical Kingdoms
  32. ^ Life, August 7, 1964, p. 85-87, "But Where's the Fun? Lost in a $7 Million Fiasco"
  33. ^ Fire destroys Cockaigne Ski Area lodge - Police Blotter - The Buffalo News
  34. ^ 1964 World's Fair Luminaries at Canobie Lake Park[dead link]
  35. ^ 1964 World's Fair Sky ride at Great Adventure
  36. ^ http://www.ultimatemets.com/uniforms.html
  37. ^ QST, September, 2009, pp. 92-3, "Vintage Radio: Displaying Your Collection"
  38. ^ "The 1964 World's Fair: Narrated By Judd Hirsch: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000055XOB. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  39. ^ "Mets unveil dining options at Citi Field | mets.com: News". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090331&content_id=4096474&vkey=news_nym&fext=.jsp&c_id=nym. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  40. ^ 1964 World's Fair at This Might Be a Wiki
  41. ^ "World's Fair Legacies - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://nywf64.com/legacies01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  42. ^ "Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Today - Page One". Nywf64.com. http://nywf64.com/fmcp01.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  43. ^ [1] Archived November 5, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ "Farewell to the Fair - Page Six". Nywf64.com. http://nywf64.com/farewell06.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  45. ^ Fisher, Amy (2008-07-23). "Front Page | www.qgazette.com | Queens Gazette". www.qgazette.com. http://www.qgazette.com/news/2008/0723/Review. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  46. ^ [2] Archived March 27, 2009 at the Wayback Machine

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