2014-05-21 / Front Page

Celebrating The World’s Fairs

BY JASON D. ANTOS


The U.S. Steel Corporation’s Unisphere (and icon of Queens) in all its glory. Designed by civil engineer and landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke in the center of the park. His widow, Dolores, was an honored guest and was the recipient of proclamations from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who declared Sunday, May 18 as “Gilmore D. Clarke Day in the Borough of Queens”. 
Photo By Jason D. Antos The U.S. Steel Corporation’s Unisphere (and icon of Queens) in all its glory. Designed by civil engineer and landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke in the center of the park. His widow, Dolores, was an honored guest and was the recipient of proclamations from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who declared Sunday, May 18 as “Gilmore D. Clarke Day in the Borough of Queens”. Photo By Jason D. Antos In 1939 and 1964, the world came to Queens for the World’s Fair.

And on May 18, the world returned to celebrate its anniversaries.

Thousands of World’s Fair and history enthusiasts, along with those fascinated about what the fair was all about, came to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for a daylong festival and celebration that aimed to educate and promote nostalgia about the two fairs that once called the parkland home.

Although the 140 pavilions that once covered more than 600 acres of the park 50 years ago are long gone, visitors were still able to enjoy the few remaining elements of the fair, including the only standing pavilion of the 1964 fair, the New York State Pavilion. The Tent of Tomorrow was opened for visitors and the U.S. Steel Corporation’s Unisphere stood in all its glory, surrounded by huge jets of water coming from the rarely used fountains.


Re-enactors dressed in 1960s period clothing greeted visitors to the park while riding a Greyhound Escorter, an original from the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The vehicle, resembling an oversized golf cart, was built specially to transport visitors around the 1964 fair. 
Photos Jason D. Antos Re-enactors dressed in 1960s period clothing greeted visitors to the park while riding a Greyhound Escorter, an original from the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The vehicle, resembling an oversized golf cart, was built specially to transport visitors around the 1964 fair. Photos Jason D. Antos The 300-ton globe, designed by civil engineer and landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke in the center of the park, remains an iconic figure that represented the fair’s theme, “Peace Through Understanding”.

In a special ceremony Clarke’s widow, Dolores, was an honored guest and was the recipient of proclamations from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.


The New York State Pavilion is bathed in light as fireworks explode during the finale of the festival that celebrated the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World’s Fairs. The New York State Pavilion is bathed in light as fireworks explode during the finale of the festival that celebrated the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World’s Fairs. “We are thrilled to have you here in the borough of Queens. Look at the excitement that has formed in the park. Every time you see the borough of Queens, you see the Unisphere and the [New York] State Pavilion, both of which need to be here for generations to come. Were it not for your husband and his great foresight, we would not have the beauty we have here,” said Katz to Clarke.

Katz declared Sunday, May 18, as “Gilmore D. Clarke Day in the Borough of Queens.”

The dual anniversary of the fairs has been promoted heavily during the past few months as growing interest in the fair has spread via the Internet and Facebook with the movement calling for the restoration of the New York State Pavilion.


The Queens Symphony Orchestra delighted visitors with classical selections and memorable movie scores. The Queens Symphony Orchestra delighted visitors with classical selections and memorable movie scores. Among the attractions at the festival was a display of antique cars, including the Batmobile from the Batman TV series, food and drinks from around the world, performances by Liverpool Shuffle, a Beatles tribute band and the Queens Symphony Orchestra. And yes, there were Belgian waffles with fresh whipped cream and strawberries.

The celebration concluded with a fireworks display above the Tent of Tomorrow.

With the success of the celebration festival, some Queens residents are calling for an annual World’s Fair day.

“It would really be a smart move,” said fair historian Richard N. Post. “It’s just one day and could really become an annual thing that can just grow and grow.”



Seth Bornstein and Rob McKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation were on hand to exhibit the “It’s In Queens” campaign aimed at promoting all things Queens. Seth Bornstein and Rob McKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation were on hand to exhibit the “It’s In Queens” campaign aimed at promoting all things Queens.

An original AT&T videophone was on display as part of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair artifact exhibit. An original AT&T videophone was on display as part of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair artifact exhibit.

On display was the original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series, Batman. The car was part of a classic car show that featured the collection of cars from the Autoseum in Mineola. 
Photo Tony Barsamian On display was the original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series, Batman. The car was part of a classic car show that featured the collection of cars from the Autoseum in Mineola. Photo Tony Barsamian

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