2015-04-15 / Star Journal

The World’s Fair And Shea Stadium Come To Queens

The Greater Astoria Historical Society
presents pages from the Long Island Star
Journal.

Welcome to April 1964!

Down in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Gemini I rumbled into space atop a mighty Titan II rocket on April 8, 1964. The unmanned test craft orbited the earth for four days, tracked closely by observers worldwide. Back firmly on planet earth and in Florida, Mrs. Malcolm Peabody, mother of the Governor of Massachusetts, was released from a St. Augustine prison, where she spent two nights for participating in an anti-segregation protest. And in entertainment news, The Beatles held all top five spots in the Billboard Top 40 that April, with their hit singles, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.”

Beatlemania, the “Space Race” and the fight for racial equality were on the minds of many, as the 1964 World’s Fair opened that April in Flushing Meadows. Among those present for the festivities were former President Harry Truman, evangelist Billy Graham and Fair President Robert Moses, who touted the grand spectacle as an “Olympics of Progress.” President Lyndon B. Johnson was on hand to address fairgoers on the challenges the nation faced as it entered a turbulent era and to exhort all Americans to rise to the occasion.


Queens welcomed the Mets to their new home in Shea Stadium after departing the historic Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan. To the disappointment of the 50,312 fans in attendance, the hometown team lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in their inaugural game at Shea. That same month, millions streamed through Queens airports on their way to the World’s Fair, sporting events and joyous family reunions. Queens welcomed the Mets to their new home in Shea Stadium after departing the historic Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan. To the disappointment of the 50,312 fans in attendance, the hometown team lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in their inaugural game at Shea. That same month, millions streamed through Queens airports on their way to the World’s Fair, sporting events and joyous family reunions. “We do not try to mask our national problems. We do not try to disguise our imperfections or cover up our failures. No other nation in history has done so much to correct its flaws.” Johnson said that with God’s help, the United States will be part of a world “in which all men are equal, in which all people are prosperous, in which all humans are free.”


The Greater Astoria Historical Society presents pages from the Long Island Star Journal. Welcome to April 1964! Down in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Gemini I rumbled into space atop a mighty Titan II rocket on April 8, 1964. The unmanned test craft orbited the earth for four days, tracked closely by observers worldwide. Back firmly on The Greater Astoria Historical Society presents pages from the Long Island Star Journal. Welcome to April 1964! Down in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Gemini I rumbled into space atop a mighty Titan II rocket on April 8, 1964. The unmanned test craft orbited the earth for four days, tracked closely by observers worldwide. Back firmly on As Queens opened its doors to the world that month, the borough was also abuzz with exciting news for local sports fans. With the Tokyo Summer Olympics just around the corner, St. John’s University in Jamaica hosted three days of grueling tryouts for the US men’s basketball team. Among the proud cagers who made the cut and would take home the gold representing the United States, were future US Senator Bill Bradley, a Queens native; Duke University standout Mullins; and one-time New York Knicks coach, Larry Brown.

On April 17, Queens welcomed the Mets to their new home in Shea Stadium after departing the historic Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan. To the disappointment of the 50,312 fans in attendance, the hometown team lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in their inaugural game at Shea.


The Beatles held all top five spots on Billboards top 40 in April, 1964 with their hit singles, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.” The Beatles held all top five spots on Billboards top 40 in April, 1964 with their hit singles, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.” Not to be outdone in sports headlines, the New York Giants made waves in the offseason by trading four-time Pro Bowl linebacker and Flushing resident, Sam Huff, to the Washington Redskins. Huff went on to earn $30,000 in his first season with Washington.

That month, millions streamed through Queens airports on their way to the World’s Fair, sporting events and joyous family reunions. Passengers on three New York-bound flights in a span of two days, however, didn’t receive the warm New York welcome they were anticipating. On April 7, a Pan Am flight full of returning vacationers and visitors from Puerto Rico rocketed 800 feet past the end of runway 4-R at the recently renamed JFK International Airport and came to rest right by Rockaway Boulevard. Among the injured was former Yankees first baseman, Buddy Hassett, who suffered a broken leg. The following day saw two equally harrowing brushes with disaster, as planes skidded off runways at LaGuardia and JFK. There were no fatalities in any of the mishaps.

One day in April 1964, Katherine Manning of Steinway Street sat down with a Long Island Star Journal reporter to share her memories of a much greater calamity in the distant past. An immigrant from Ireland, Manning was a survivor of the Titanic sinking that icy April evening 52 years before. The Astoria resident who came to America at age 16 recalled thinking that the majestic ocean liner had arrived in New York and that the icebergs were mountains surrounding her new home. The lifeboats were merely to bring her to shore where her sister, Molly, waited. After her eventual rescue at sea and reunion with her longseparated sibling, she recalled seeing her “sister wearing black for me. My name was placed among the dead, and she was in mourning. It was 50 years before I could cross the water again. In 1962 I went back to Ireland by plane.”

That’s the way it was in April 1964!

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