Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and state Assembly Member Margaret Markey, the co-chairs of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee, today unveiled the schedule for a six-month series of events to celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the 1964 and 1939 World’s Fairs, which were held in what is now Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.
The announcement took place during a press conference in Flushing Meadows Corona Park at the Unisphere, the huge globe erected for the 1964 World’s Fair that has since become a cultural icon known worldwide as a symbol of Queens.
Borough President Katz and Assembly Member Markey hosted the press conference in their capacities as co-chairs of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee, an umbrella group that includes elected officials, the City’s Parks Department, NYC & Company, the Queens Tourism Council and the participating cultural organizations that have worked for the past six months to organize and coordinate a fun, exciting and hopefully memorable series of events to celebrate the anniversaries.
“Both the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs were seminal events that had wide impacts locally, nationally and internationally,” Borough President Katz said. “They also left favorable impressions upon and generated positive memories for their attendees, and those impressions and memories have lasted until this day.”
“This slate of World’s Fair Anniversary events we are unveiling today will hopefully rekindle memories of the fairs among those who attended them and promote the spirit of the fairs among younger people who did not have a chance to attend,” the Borough President added. “These events will also help in the achievement of my goal to rebrand Queens as a tourist destination with world-class cultural institutions and other attractions that people from around the borough, city, nation and world should explore.”
“What a joy it is to stand here at the Unisphere to talk about these two Anniversaries and our plans to commemorate them,” Assembly Member Markey said. “The many Queens organizations and institutions that have come together under the Borough President's leadership to organize these events over the next six months demonstrate the ascendancy of Queens in recent years and reflect the important role of our great borough in the history of the city and nation.”
Among the events announced today is an official opening ceremony for this year’s Anniversary festivities. It will take place at the New York State Pavilion at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22. That date will be exactly 50 years to the day after the 1964’s World Fair opened to the public.
The opening ceremony will be immediately followed by a rare opportunity for the public to tour the New York State Pavilion. The free tours will take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22.
Another event announced today is NYC Parks’ “World’s Fair Anniversary Festival,” a day of great food, great rides, live entertainment, exhibits of World’s Fair memorabilia and more that will be sponsored in part by the Queens Borough President’s Office and New York Community Bank and held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sunday, May 18.
A wide variety of Queens cultural institutions, located both inside and outside Flushing Meadows Corona Park, will also be holding World’s Fair Anniversary events over the next six months. A full list of these events can found in a brochure prepared and distributed by the Queens Tourism Council, a division of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. The brochure is being distributed along with this press release.
The Council has also set up a website at www.itsinqueens.com/worldsfair where residents and visitors can get up-to-date information about World’s Fair Anniversary events.
Extensive promotional support for the World’s Fair Anniversary events is being provided NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization.
“I commend the Parks Department, NYC & Company, the Queens Tourism Council and all the other organizations that have been a part of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee,” Katz said. “These organizations, which include the Queens Botanical garden, Queens Theatre, Queens Museum and New York Hall of Science, have done a huge amount of hard work to put together the events we are announcing here today. All of them have done an outstanding job putting together an exciting variety of events that will appeal to the diverse populations of our borough and city and to visitors from across the country and around the world.”
“While many people remember the inventions first exhibited at the World’s Fairs, we all should know that Flushing Meadows Corona Park is also one of the Fairs’ enduring creations,” said NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. “Over the past 75 years, Flushing Meadows has improved the lives of New Yorkers as a unique recreational and cultural destination. With these anniversary events we will take a look back at the Fairs, and a look forward to the future of Flushing Meadows – the World’s Park and Queens’ backyard.”
“Through a five-borough outdoor advertising campaign and promotion on nycgo.com, we look forward to showcasing all there is to see and do in Queens for the anniversary celebrations of the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs,” said NYC & Company’s President and CEO Fred Dixon. “The New York World’s Fairs inspired and attracted visitors from around the world to Queens, and we encourage New Yorkers and visitors to once again experience Queens’ diverse and historic cultural institutions, restaurants and more during the World’s Fair anniversary season.”
“The Queens Tourism Council is excited to participate in the anniversaries of the World's Fair,” said Council Executive Director Seth Bornstein. “Both fairs still capture the imagination of the public. There will be some wonderful events in the next few months – and all of them can be found on the It's in Queens website at www.itsinqueens.com/WorldsFair/.
“Queens Theatre had its first life as the Theaterama, part of the New York State Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair,” said Queens Theatre managing director Taryn Sacramone. “To honor the great history of our venue, we have a variety of exhibitions and events planned- from a magic show to an exhibition of seven World's Fair structures built out of LEGOs to a free lecture from one of the world's foremost experts on the World's Fairs, and more. We have also commissioned 10 world class playwrights to write original works inspired by the World's Fairs. It has been a pleasure to plan our own celebrations and, as a member of the committee, to work with other cultural institutions to promote the anniversary events that they're hosting as well."
“Housed in the only structure still standing from both the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, the Queens Museum is inextricably linked to the these two momentous expositions,” said Queens Museum’s president and executive director, Tom Finkelpearl. “Their themes– Building the World of Tomorrow and Peace Through Understanding–are central to the Museum’s dedication to education and cross-cultural programming through the arts, and along with our colleagues we
look forward to this exciting anniversary season. We invite the world to once again return to the Park and enjoy 13 Most
Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World's Fair, a rare look at the artist’s controversial 1964 project and a seminal year in Warhol’s life.”
“Most anniversaries celebrate the past, but today is just as much about the future,” said Dan Wempa, Vice President for External Affairs at New York Hall of Science (NYSCI.) “This year at NYSCI, we will unveil two new exhibitions and re-open a completely modernized Great Hall. So even as we look back and commemorate our history, we have our eyes on the next 50 years. The World’s Fairs were about innovation and progress. That legacy is evident today, not just at NYSCI, but at all of Flushing Meadows’ cultural attractions.”
"The Unisphere is a symbol of our great borough and the events celebrating the World's Fair,” said Assembly Member Nily Rozic, one of elected officials serving on the World’s Fair Anniversary Honorary Committee. “I want to thank Borough President Katz, Assemblywoman Markey, and the World's Fair Committee for highlighting Queens' gem."
The additional organizations represented on the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee are the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, the Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Daily News, the New York Mets, the Noguchi Museum, the Port Authority of NY & NJ, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Queens College, the Queens Historical Society and the United States Tennis Association