Queens World’s Fair anniversary preparations
by Chase Collum
Apr 02, 2014 | 5232 views | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey
In anticipation of two World’s Fair anniversaries, Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey hosted a press conference at the Queens Museum last Friday to announce the full, six-month schedule of 50th and 75th anniversary events.

Both the 1939 and 1964 World's Fair were held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“On May 18, we will have the kickoff to World’s Fair events throughout the borough,” Katz said. “It’s going to be a great day here in the park to commemorate the World’s Fair and lead into the summer.”

The World’s Fair represents the ideals of optimism and wonder for many who attended in 1964. World’s Fair Anniversary Committee members, such as New York Hall of Science vice president of External Affairs Dan Wempa, are hopeful that the upcoming anniversary celebration will capture some of that same wonder.

“Most anniversaries celebrate the past. This one is about celebrating the future,” Wempa said. “The World’s Fair was all about innovation and progress. In 1964, our's was the first poured-in-place concrete structure in New York City. Then, we were looking to space. Now were looking back at earth.”

With this in mind, Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh hoped the event could bring focus to the quality of life afforded New Yorkers as a result of the comprehensive park system dotting the five boroughs.

“While many people remember the inventions first exhibited at the World’s Fairs, we all should know that Flushing Meadows Corona Park is also one of the fairs’ enduring creations,” Kavanagh said. “With these anniversary events we will take a look back at the Fairs, and a look forward to the future of Flushing Meadows – the World’s Park and Queens’ backyard.”

Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the Queens Museum, which was built for the 1939 World’s Fair, was excited to announce that as part of the celebration the museum will open “America’s Most Wanted Men,” an exhibit submitted by Andy Warhol that was deemed too risqué for the 1964 World’s Fair audience.

The Queens Theater and Queens Botanical Gardens, which originated from exhibits at the 1939 World’s Fair, both announced a series of anniversary events scheduled throughout the summer.

Exactly 50 years after the grand opening of the World’s Fair Pavilion to the public in 1964, Katz announced that it would be open once again for just three hours on April 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“For the first time in decades, we’ll be opening the pavilion for a tour,” Katz said. “So you can come here, get a hard hat, sign a release, and be able to get the tour on April 22.”

Jenn Ramirez, a Queens native who has lived a short walk from the park for the past three years, has been an admirer of the pavilion since childhood. She can’t wait for the chance to see it from the inside for the first time on April 22.

“As a kid I would be in my parents’ car on the highway, and I would see this structure loom out and wonder, ‘What is that?’” Ramirez said. “Now, that’s my dream to go inside.”

Following the pavilion tour, events will be hosted all over the borough from May 18 through October.

Anniversary Committee Member Fred Dixon of NYC & Company, who has been working closely with the celebration marketing campaign, was optimistic about attendance prospects for the upcoming festivities.

“This year’s World Fair celebration is just another reason why Queens is a great destination,” Dixon said. “We expect to make 40 million impressions by the time it's done.”

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