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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

World's Fair Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was home to the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World’s Fairs. The Fairs were instrumental in the development of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and this playground, located along the Grand Central Parkway near 62nd Road, is one of many sites in the park existing because of the fair. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981) hoped to develop the site into a grand park after the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair and secured the 1216-acre location in the Flushing Meadows.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) opened the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939. Grover A. Whalen (1886-1962) served as president of the World’s Fair Corporation. The fairgrounds were divided into seven zones with exhibits in communications, government, production and distribution, food, transportation, amusement, and community interests. Highlights included the “Town of Tomorrow” with futuristic model homes, Billy Rose’s Aquacade on Meadow Lake, the Life-Savers Parachute Tower, General Motors’ “Futurama” depicting the world of 1960, and new inventions such as color film, nylon stockings, television, and air conditioning.

60 countries, the League of Nations, the Works Progress Administration, the City of New York, and 33 states and territories presented pavilions at the fair. The New York City Building was a pavilion for both fairs, the first home of the United Nations General Assembly, and currently houses the Queens Museum of Art. The 700-foot-high Trylon and 200-foot-wide Perisphere stood as symbols of the fair’s theme, “Building the World of Tomorrow.” When World War II broke out, the theme of the fair was changed to “Peace and Freedom.” 44,931,681 people attended the 1930-1940 New York World’s Fair, which closed on October 26, 1940.

The 1964-65 World’s Fair theme was “Peace through Understanding,” and hosted 80 countries, the United States government, 24 states, and the City of New York. Robert Moses served as president of the World’s Fair Corporation and opened the fair on April 22, 1964. U.S. Steel constructed its symbol, the Unisphere, which still sits in the park today. Popular exhibitions included General Motors’ “Futurama II” portraying the world of 2064, American Telephone and Telegraph’s models of the Picturephone, the large dinosaur sculptures in Sinclair Oil’s “Dinoland,” International Business Machines presentation of basic computers, the New York State Pavilion, the Hall of Science, and the intricate “Panorama” of the five boroughs in the New York City Building. Fair attendance was 51,666,300.

Parks constructed World’s Fair Playground in 1939. In 1995, the playground was one of many sites renovated with $700,000 provided by Council Member Morton Povman. The playground holds a comfort station, benches, drinking fountains, a flagpole with a yardarm, play equipment with safety surfacing, swings for tots and kids, a tennis court, a basketball court, an asphalt baseball diamond, handball courts, a spray shower, and turtle animal art.

Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

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