For New York boomers, there are only two kinds of World’s Fair: the 1964 fair that we got to visit in our youth, and the 1939 fair that we ardently wish we could have visited – the fair of the Unisphere, and the fair of the Trylon and Perisphere. This year marks both the 50th anniversary of the ’64 fair, and the 75th anniversary of its ’39 predecessor. To honor the memory of both, the gallery in the Central Park Arsenal has mounted a small but fascinating show of photos and objects from each of them.
Why the Arsenal? It’s the headquarters of New York City’s Parks Department – and both fairs took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in Queens. In fact, it was the two Worlds Fairs – each under the supervision of Robert Moses – that helped create Flushing Meadows Park, and the Parks Department takes great pride in that history.
The selections from the department’s Photo Archive includes images never before exhibited, anywhere. According to the department, “The photos illustrate the gargantuan task of assembling these temporary empires highlighting international and cutting-edge industry, commerce, art and design. The striking images capture the big picture in all its grandeur, as well as private moments that reclaim the experience of visitors. They illustrate advances in art and architecture, as well as the carnival and corporate atmosphere that at times undercut the more high-minded objectives of fair organizers.”
[The 1939 Fair: aerial view] (more…)