This Month In History
April 2015

This Month in NYS History – New York World’s Fair Officially Opened in Queens, NY – April 30, 1939

The World’s Fair, which lasted 18 months, promised visitors a glimpse into “The World of Tomorrow.”
The World’s Fair, which lasted 18 months, promised visitors a glimpse into “The World of Tomorrow.”
On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opened at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park in Queens. Spanning 1,200 acres, the fairground was marked by two imposing modernist structures, the Perisphere, a 200-foot globe, and the Trylon, a 700-foot obelisk. Both iconic structures, which housed a diorama of a utopian city of the future, became symbols of the entire fair.

Conceived in 1935, with hopes of helping to lift the nation out of the Depression, four years went into planning, building, and promoting the project. Nearly 60 nations, 33 states and U.S. territories, and over a thousand businesses set up exhibitions or built extraordinary pavilions.

The 1939-1940 World’s Fair, which lasted 18 months, promised visitors a glimpse into “The World of Tomorrow.” In keeping with the fair’s theme, over 40 million visitors were given a glimpse into what the future would hold. The fair featured new technologies such color photography, FM radio, air conditioning, nylon, Formica, fluorescent lighting, and a crude fax machine.

In addition, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) introduced television to the American public. The opening ceremony, which was officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was broadcast to a handful of sets in the New York City area. The RCA pavilion became one of the World Fair’s most popular attractions. Upon leaving the pavilion, visitors were given wallet cards to prove they’d been “televised.”

The 1939 New York World’s Fair enjoyed large crowds before the outbreak of World War II interrupted many of its scheduled events.

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