Revisiting NYC’s 1964 World’s Fair, 50 Years Later


The museum’s most famous display, the “Panorama of the City of New York,” is a scale model of the city that debuted at the `64 fair. The panorama includes models of each of the city’s 895,000 buildings built before 1992, along with every street, park and bridge, on a scale of 1 to 1,200. The island of Manhattan is 70 feet long (21 meters), the Empire State building 15 inches tall (38 centimeters).

Opening April 27 is an exhibit of posters that pop artist Andy Warhol did for the ’64 World’s Fair, inspired by mug shots of the city’s 13 most-wanted criminals from 1962. The posters were too controversial for the fair and were never shown.

Two NASA rockets stand 100 feet high (30 meters) outside the New York Hall of Science, a museum that opened a few years after the ’64 fair, replacing a temporary pavilion. The rockets were part of a space park at the fair that captured the excitement of the era’s quest to get a man on the moon.

Towering over the Hall of Sciences is an undulating concrete building called the Great Hall, an architectural marvel that was an original fair site. Undergoing renovation now, it’s due to reopen in October, when visitors will be able to experience the other-worldly interior covered in blue stained glass.

The Hall of Science has undergone a series of renovations over the years and today houses exhibits exploring everything from microbes to the science of basketball. It also has a small but worthwhile display in a second-floor hallway of brochures, tickets and other memorabilia from the fair, along with a first-floor display of photos of World’s Fairs going back to the 19th century.

A geodesic dome from the ’64 fair serves as the zoo’s walk-through aviary. The zoo specializes in North and South American animals, ranging from bears to pumas.

The carousel dates to the early 1900s and was brought to Queens for the ’64 fair from Coney Island, Brooklyn. Located outside the zoo, near 111th Street and 55th Avenue.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is home to several sculptures commissioned for the fair, including “Rocket Thrower,” “Freedom of the Human Spirit,” “Form” and “Forms in Transit.”

No. 7 train to 111th Street in Queens; walk down Roosevelt Avenue toward the Hall of Science at 47th Avenue. You’ll see the rocket ships come into view over an auto parts store. The zoo, Unisphere and art museum are nearby, though it’s a lot of walking. The next stop on the train, Mets-Willets Point, is closer to the Unisphere, art museum and a bike rental station. By car, take the Grand Central Parkway to the Tennis Center.

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Posted by on May 1st, 2014 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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