The 1964-65 World's Fair - Flushing Meadows/Corona Park, Queens, New York

The 1964-65 New York World's Fair characterized the buoyant mood of mid-20th century America - and of the western world (and not-so-western* world, too) as a whole - in a great number of ways. From the space-age "Googie" architecture of the fair pavilions and theme structures to the future-regarding nature of the various commercial, industrial, and cultural displays presented at the fair, the 1964 New York World's fair was in all respects "modern."

The fair's official motto, "Peace Through Understanding," typifies our postwar faith in American military might, industrial strength, and diplomatic prowess. Further, the fair's general themes of progress and space-age optimism express the "If we can dream it, we really can do it" attitude of visionary modern American humanists like Walter Elias Disney, whose conceptions of present and future American technical and cultural achievements were showcased at the fair. The Carousel of Progress, which still operates at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, was developed by WED Enterprises (the forerunner of Walt Disney Imagineering) for the General Electric Progressland pavillion. The audio-animatronic Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show - which made its way to Disneyland in July of 1965 (and will be returning shortly) - headlined the Illinois pavillion. The Pepsi/UNICEF pavilion featured the delightful It's a Small World attraction, while the spectacular Magic Skyway anchored the Ford Motors pavilion. If you've ever ridden the Disneyland Railroad, you've met the fantastic audio-animatronic dinosaurs who starred in the Ford Magic Skyway attraction!

"The Fairgrounds" still exist today as Corona Park in Queens, New York City. The basic path layout and a precious few fair-era structures remain, including the Unisphere and the decaying New York State Pavilion (the round colonnade is the "Tent of Tomorrow," and the flying saucers on stalks are observation decks).

Jay, indicating the NYS Pavilion observation platforms: "So these are real flying saucers and the world's fair was just a cover-up for their landing."

Kay: "Why else would they hold it in Queens?"

~ Men in Black, 1997

* Since the 1964 fair was not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions, most of the usual "big" European and British Commonwealth nations were not officially represented. Nations such as Jordan, Lebanon, Japan, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Venezuela, however, chose to participate.

NYS Pavilion
New York State Pavilion observation towers. These were featured in the film Men in Black. :) Image by Kali Pappas.

NYS Pavilion
New York State Pavilion observation towers, through the "Tent of Tomorrow" roof. Or, where the suspended "roof" used to be. Image by Kali Pappas.

Unisphere, with NYS Pavilion in background
The symbol of the 64-65 World's Fair: The Unisphere. Learn about it here at Image by Kali Pappas.

Kali + Unisphere
I love this thing. Image by Daria Shevchenko.

Classic Unisphere shot, with USTA-Arthur Ash Stadium in the background. Image by Kali Pappas.

Unisphere Info Plaque
Image provided by Damien.