With the grandiose Unisphere and the hulking New York State Pavilion remaining as testaments to the fair, it’s hard not to imagine what it looked like when the area was covered with 150 pavilions, swarming with millions of visitors.
Robert Moses, president and creator of the fair, said that the Unisphere would remind future generations that “a pageant of surpassing interest and significance” once took place there. He was right, and to honor the memory of that massive undertaking, the city and other institutions are holding special events through October [when the fair closed for the season].
It is also the 75th anniversary of the 1939-40 World’s Fair at the fairgrounds.
Listed below is the most comprehensive schedule of programs available at this time. Additional events will be posted as they become available at Itsinqueens.com/worldsfair.
Exhibit: “The 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fair,” Greater Astoria Historical Society, Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Long Island City, now through June 30, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Suggested donation: $5; free for GAHS members.
Queens Center Mall, Elmhurst, will dedicate space in April for an exhibit on how the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs played up the borough’s diversity.
Saturday, April 12, a NY World’s Fair tour, led by Greater Astoria Historical Society and Forgotten New York. Meet at the boardwalk leading to Flushing Meadows Park, south of 7 Train Willets Point Station, noon to 3 pm. $20; $15 for GAHS members.
Sunday, April 13, at 3 p.m., “Visions of Tomorrow: Art and Commerce at the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road, LIC. Lecture by Helen Harrison, director of the Pollack-Krasner House and Study Center. Free with NG admission.
“64 in 64,” organized by the Queens Historical Society, at Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Park. Sixty-four photographs documenting the construction of the New York State Pavilion which consisted of Theaterama (today’s Queens Theatre), the Tent of Tomorrow and three Observation Towers. Runs through Nov. 2, open on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Free.
“Iconic Symbols of the 1964 World’s Fair Reimagined — in LEGOs”, Queens Theatre, Fun exhibit of seven World’s Fair structures made out of LEGOs. Runs through Nov. 2.
“Bringing the World to the Fair: The Port Authority’s Role — Trade, Travel and Tourism in Queens, the Region and the World,” Queens Theatre. Exhibit includes a pop-up, display case and video. Runs through July 31. Open on Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
April 22 (50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 fair). “When the World Came to Queens,” a presentation at Queens Theatre featuring rare photographs and anecdotes on both fairs conducted by author and historian Bill Cotter, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Free (suggested donation $10).
April 22, Open gate event, Flushing Meadows Park. NYC Parks, Borough President Melinda Katz and the New York State Pavilion Paint Project Crew will open the gate to the NYS Pavilion so guests can view and take photos of the interior (Tent of Tomorrow only). The Paint Crew will answer questions and talk about the structure’s past, present and future, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., free.
April 27, “Andy Warhol’s 13 Most Wanted Men and the 1964 World’s Fair” exhibit, Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Park Warhol’s exhibit sparked a scandal at the fair. He enlarged mug shots from an NYPD booklet featuring the 13 most wanted criminals of 1962. The work was installed and shortly after painted over. Later, Warhol produced 20 Most Wanted Men paintings with the screens he had used to make the mural. These works will form the core of this year’s exhibition, open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m., runs through Sept. 7, free with QM admission.
April 29, Queens Taste 2014, Sheraton LaGuardia Hotel, 135-20 39 Ave., Flushing. This annual event to support the Queens Economic Development Corp. will feature a World’s Fair memorabilia table and photos, 6 to 9 p.m., $100. A fair expert and the women who sold Belgian waffles in 1964 will attend.
April 30, “The World Comes to Queens: Films from the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs,” Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave., Astoria. The museum will continuously show fair-related films, in excerpts or their entirety. Runs through Aug. 31.
May 5, “Moving the World to the 1964 World’s Fair,” photo exhibit will be on display at the AirTrain JFK Jamaica and Howard Beach Stations until Nov. 12.
May 6, “Harvesting our History: The Birth of Queens Botanical Garden,” 43-50 Main Street, Flushing. Exhibition created largely from the venue’s archives looks back at the 1939 and 1964 fairs and traces QBG’s development. Free with QBG admission.
May 17, 105th Annual Magic Show, Queens Theatre. For the first time at Queens Theatre, this show will include performances by the Society of American Magicians and commemorate the role of magic at the fairs at 8 pm. $45.
May 17 and May 18, The Workers Art Coalition presents a temporary public art installation, The Workers Pavilion, at Queens Museum to serve as an outdoor exhibition that showcases original art, photography and writing by union workers, immigrant workers and participating labor groups.
May 18, World’s Fair Anniversary Festival in Flushing Meadows Park.Games, inflatable rides, crafts and activities, tours of fair sculptures and structures, memorabilia, and free fun for the entire family, 1 to 4 p.m. followed by a concert. Free.
May 18, “Build It!: A LEGO Workshop,” Queens Theatre, Special community events, where participants can learn to build LEGO models and will leave with a mini-model of the New York State Pavilion. Three sessions: 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Free.
May 24 to May 26, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, World’s Fair Train Show at Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing. The Long Island Garden Railway Society will create a working “G-scale” model train exhibit in a World’s Fair-themed outdoor setting. On May 24, the festivities will include food and craft vendors, a trackless train for rides through selected sections of QBG, and a 4 p.m. concert by John Yao’s Big Band, a 17-piece ensemble. Free with QBG admission.
May 25, “The Designing Eye: Exposition Posters from 1893 – 2000,” on loan from a private collection, at the Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Park. Exhibiting 30 fair posters from a 100-year period and spanning several continents. Runs through Aug. 31.
June 22, Pierre Montiel, a World’s Fair historian, will discuss the 1964 fair at 2 p.m. at the Queens Historical Society, 143-35 37 Ave., Flushing. Prior to the talk, the QHS will open its exhibit on the people who came to the World’s Fair at 1:30 p.m. It will run until next May. Cost is $5.
July 13, the QHS will present German Night with food and music from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. $10.
July 19 the Queens Botanical Garden will hold two World’s Fair beer tasting sessions from noon to 3 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. The fest includes music, food and craft vendors. Tickets are required. Call (718) 886-3800, ext. 330. $30, early bird; $40; and $50 at door.
July 27, 2:30-4:30 p.m. the QHS will hold Italian Night with food and music. $10. Aug. 10 is Polish Night and Aug. 24 is Irish Night.
Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. the botanial garden will present Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky, a former staff member and now director of the New Haven Museum ,who will give a lecture on the histories of the fairs.
Ongoing exhibits include a World’s Fair visible storage and gallery at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Park with more than 900 pieces of artifacts and memorabilia, plus a World’s Fair adventure, a virtual experience and game transporting visitors back to the 1964 event.
Also at the Queens Museum, permanently, is the Panorama of the City of New York, an installation from the 1964 fair. The former ride shows New York City’s five boroughs in miniature.