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Queens Chronicle

Fairs were no friend

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Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Granted, I may well be in the minority, but I have much difficulty understanding the media hoopla about the 50th anniversary of the 1964-65 New York City World’s Fair (“There’s plenty left from World’s Fair,” April 24).

I am old enough to recall attending both the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, and while there were some interesting exhibits in the ’64 Fair, the Unisphere and several others, on balance it could not be judged spectacular. Indeed even the use of the word “World’s” could be questioned since many of the western European countries declined to participate. It was a financial disaster, as was the 1939 Fair. The ’39 Fair returned bond holders 40 cents on the dollar whereas, worse yet, the ’64 Fair returned bond holders 19.2 cents on the dollar.

At the conclusion of the ’64 Fair, ignoring the fact its venue had been Flushing Meadows Corona Park, part of the city municipal park system, it was left with a plethora of structures that did not belong in an urban park and would not have been allowed in Central, Prospect or Bronx parks, and rightfully so. As a result of so leaving these alien structures, myopic politicians have over the past 50 years used that as an excuse to dump more structures and permit misuse of the park. Notwithstanding FMCP is the second-most used park in the city, it is also the most abused, treated as real estate and not a park, the lifeblood of an urban society.

Lost in the euphoria for this misguided celebration is the fact that to construct the Fair, FMCP was shut down for about five years, depriving the people of Queens the use of a much-needed park.

A proper remembrance of the ’64 Fair would be to start removing those alien structures and insist the city allocate the necessary funds to make FMCP the first-rate park Robert Moses promised when he took it for the Fair, but never delivered.

Indeed, if while walking around Meadow Lake, one wanted to sit down on a bench to admire the lake, he or she could not, because there are no benches.

Benjamin M. Haber

Welcome to the discussion.