Flushing Meadows Corona Park

NYC Parks' World's Fair Anniversary Festival Draws Thousands To Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Monday, May 19, 2014
No. 24

All-Day Celebration Followed by Free Public Concert and Fireworks Honors the Unique Heritage and Promising Future of Queens’ Largest Park

On Sunday, May 18th, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Assembly Member Margaret Markey, and dozens of Queens cultural institutions and community organizations to welcome the public to a free all-day event in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, site of the original 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs.

Some 60,000 people turned out for the day-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the 1939 Fair and the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Fair. The Fairs, celebrating the “World of Tomorrow” in 1939 and “Peace Through Understanding” in 1964, attracted approximately 96 million visitors over their runs. Sunday's celebration showed off the World's Park, which resulted from these two remarkable events.

“Flushing Meadows Corona Park was the site of a unique moment in history not once, but twice, as it welcomed people from every community in New York City and from all around the world to the 1939 World’s Fair, and then the 1964 World’s Fair” said Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “Today it is a unique park, the largest park in our borough and one we believe is the most diverse in the nation. We were delighted to see tens of thousands of people fill the park for our Festival and we hope they’ll keep coming back to play on its sports fields, walk its trails, enjoy its gardens and visit its cultural institutions.”

“The 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs were major events in our borough’s history during which millions of people converged on Flushing Meadows Corona Park to enjoy an amazing array of exhibits, attractions, performers and foods from around the world,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The World’s Fair Festival rekindled memories of those fantastic events and reminded us that the borough of Queens, the most diverse county in America, remains ‘The World’s Borough.’ It is truly a special place where people can experience the incredible variety of cultural traditions celebrated by Queens residents who come from more than 100 countries and speak 138 different languages. It is also home to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the crown jewel of our borough’s park system and home to distinctive World’s Fair landmarks like the New York State Pavilion, which I am committed to preserving so that future generations may appreciate its history and its distinctive Space Age design.”

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Co-Chair of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee and Chair of the Assembly for Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said: “This celebration brought the eyes of the world once again to Queens and the permanent legacy these historic World’s Fairs have given us in the form of our magnificent Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the important cultural institutions now at home there. It has been a great honor to help shape the anniversary celebration and to have sponsored the commemorative performance of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and fireworks that brought this terrific day to an exciting climax. We all look forward to the many other anniversary events that continue throughout the borough as this anniversary celebration continues over the coming months. I urge everyone to see the full schedule of upcoming programs at the Queens Tourism Council’s website, www.itsinqueens.com/worldsfair.”

At the Sunday Festival, music lovers enjoyed an afternoon filled with free live performances by Japanese drummers Soh Daiko, jazz/funk group Yaz Band, experimental folk band You Bred RaptorsΑ, Acapella Soul, Andean band Raices, and the all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Flor De Tolache.

For kids and families, there were 50-cent spins on the historic carousel, strolling magicians from the Society of American Magicians, storytelling and puppet shows, crafts, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Met.

For history buffs, John Krawchuk, NYC Parks’ Director of Historic Preservation offered three tours of World’s Fair-related structures and art on the park grounds, including a hard hat tour of the New York State Pavilion’s “Tent of Tomorrow.”

For food lovers, there was the return of the famous Belgian Waffle from the 1964 World’s Fair, and foods from around the world, including Peruvian empanadas and Jamaican jerk chicken.

The program for the Queens Symphony Orchestra included a selection from “World’s Fair Suite,” a symphony composed for the 1964 World’s Fair by Ferde Grofe.
Dozens of World’s Fair Anniversary events continue throughout the season. At NYC Parks’ Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, "Tomorrow's World: The New York World Fairs and Flushing Meadows Corona Park," a show devoted to lectures and exhibits of archival photos of the Fair, memorabilia and programs from it, will be featured next month. The exhibit, which is free to the public, will run from June 26 through August 27, 2014. Other events include:

• The World Comes to Queens: Films from the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs,
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106.
The museum will continuously show World’s Fair-related films. Now through August 31.

• Science and the Fair Exhibit,
New York Hall of Science. Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Runs throughout the month of June.

• The 1939 & 1964 New York World's Fair,
Greater Astoria Historical Society, Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Long Island City, NY 11106.
The exhibit features 30 rare photographs from both Fairs. Now through June 30.

• 64 in 64,
Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
64 photographs document the construction of the iconic New York State Pavilion. Now through November 2, on Mondays from 11 am to 2 pm and Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Iconic Symbols of the 1964 World's Fair Reimagined — in LEGOs,
Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Fun exhibit of seven World's Fair structures made out of LEGOs organized in association with The Port Authority of NY & NJ. Now through November 2.

• Bringing the World to the Fair: The Port Authority's Role — Trade, Travel and Tourism in Queens, the Region and the World,
Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Exhibit runs through July 31. Open on Mondays, 10 am to 2 pm, and Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Free.

• Andy Warhol's 13 Most Wanted Men and the 1964 World's Fair Exhibit,
Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Andy Warhol's 13 Most Wanted Men exhibit sparked a high-profile scandal at the 1964 World’s Fair and was removed. Now through September 7, Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

• Mathematica: A World of Numbers,
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, NY 11368.
Originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames, a copy of the exhibition was displayed at the 1964 World Fair. Permanent exhibit.

• The Panorama of the City of New York,
Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Built by a team of more than 100 people over the course of three years, the Panorama was originally featured at the 1964 World’s Fair. Permanent exhibit.

For more information, please visit itsinqueens.com or nyc.gov/parks.

About NYC Park’s World’s Fair Festival

NYC Park’s World’s Fair Anniversary Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was made possible with the help of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee and its co-chairs, Borough President Melinda Katz and Assembly Member Margaret Markey. Sponsors were TD Bank, AT&T, NYC & Company, Con Edison, the Kupferberg Center for the Arts of Queens College, the USTA National Tennis Center, the Daily News, the Queens Council for Tourism, the Coca-Cola Company and dnainfo.com. The Municipal Transit Authority provided performers from its “Music Under New York” program. City Parks Foundation provided performances by “Puppets in the Park.”

About Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The site that is now Flushing Meadows Corona Park was first constructed in order to host the 1939 World’s Fair and formally opened as a City park in 1967. At 898 acres, Flushing Meadows is the largest park in Queens and the fourth largest in New York City.

Since 2002, nearly $89 million in capital improvements have been made to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, including 69 different projects. In 2008, NYC Parks released a “Strategic Framework Plan” outlining options and plans for the future of the park. Completed projects include wetlands restoration, a new dock, a renovated boathouse, rain gardens, new pathways around the lakes, a new world-class skate plaza, and new pumps for operating the Unisphere Fountain. The Municipal Art Society commissioned Steve Tatti who, under the auspices of NYC Parks’ Art and Antiquities division, has restored the Rocket Thrower Sculpture, and NYC Parks’ Capital Division has overseen installation of three new turf fields for soccer and five new volleyball courts. Assessments have been completed on options and projected costs for restoring the NY State Pavilion.

Directions to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Know Before You Go

Recreation Centers
Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool & Rink

Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool & Rink remains closed to the public until further notice. Some recreation centers are being used for COVID-19 testing and vaccination services, the Learning Bridges program, and critical seasonal training. Please visit our Recreation Centers page to find an alternate recreation center.

World's Fair Marina

Due to a major planned reconstruction project, Pier 1 at the World's Fair Marina is currently closed. Limited transient dockage is available for smaller recreational vessels - please contact the Dockmasters office at 718-478-0480 or VHF Ch71 for more information. There is no dockage available for larger vessels or commercial vessels, including passenger pick-up and drop-off. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please check back with the World's Fair Marina in the future for updates.

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