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Queens Chronicle

‘Bottoms up, Queens,’ Schaefer said

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

Schaefer Brewery, founded in 1842 and called the oldest brewery in the city, went all out for the 1939-40 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, sponsoring the Schaefer Center, with an open-air bar 120 feet long.

Beer was sold for 10 cents a glass with 60,452 sold the first day, April 30, 1939, and a million by that July.

Fifty famous celebrities recorded their visit to the bar by leaving their hand and foot prints in cement for posterity. Unbreakable glass later protected the display. The restaurant section seated over 1,600 patrons.

It all was demolished in spring 1941.

Schaefer returned for the 1964-65 fair and built another pavilion on the same spot using the same architects, Eggers and Higgins. Walter Dorwin Teague was an associate designer. The new bar was 300 feet long, making it the world’s largest curved bar.

Again, after the fair ended, Schaefer’s building was demolished. The firm built a state-of-the-art brewery in Allentown, Pa. in 1971 and closed its obsolete Brooklyn plant in 1976, leaving New York City without a brewery for a long time to come.

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