“President Opens Fair as a Symbol of Peace,” The New York Times declared in its top headline of May 1, 1939. “Vast Spectacle of Color and World Progress Thrills Enthusiastic Crowds on the First Day.”
The peace lasted only another four months, to the day, but the fair ran until October, and then again from April to October the next year. Now there are but 10 days left to see “Future Perfect: Re-Constructing the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” the Queens Museum of Art’s exhibit of photographs, blueprints and original documents from the spectacle in the heart of Queens.
The fair was the first step in Robert Moses’ transformation of what had once been a bucolic meadow and then a massive city dump into today’s Flushing Meadows Park. Its theme was “The World of Tomorrow,” and it featured fantastical modernist pieces of architecture like the Trylon, an obelisk-like spire 700 feet tall, and the Perisphere, a massive globe that housed exhibits. Nylon, color photography and air conditioning also made their debuts at the fair.
The QMA is located in the fair’s New York City Building, and can be reached at (718) 592-9700 for further details.
— Peter C. Mastrosimone