1964 – The World’s Fair opens in New York

The 1964 World’s Fair was the second such fair not to be approved of by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), the organisation in charge of such fairs. (The first was the previous New York World’s Fair, held in 1939.) There were a number of reasons for this, but the most prominent was the decision of the fair’s organising committee to charge rent to exhibitors.

Nonetheless, the Fair went ahead. Robert Moses, the city planner of New York City, was the main force behind it, and he recruited the architect Victor Gruen to design the site and the buildings (thus ensuring that the Gruen transfer would effect Fair-goers as well as mall-shoppers). Many of the world’s more prominent nations – members of the BIE – did not attend the Fair, but other nations from the developing world more than made up for them. By the time the World’s Fair closed its doors eighteen months later, 51 million visitors had visited.

Referenced in:

Ana Ng — They Might Be Giants

1939 – The New York World’s Fair opens

Dedicated to the promise of tomorrow, the New York City World’s Fair opened on Sunday, April 30, 1939. A crowd of more than two hundred thousand people braved the queues and the heat to investigate the attractions of the Fair. Many of the attractions were still not completed, but no one much cared. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the opening address, which many of the crowd watched on the two hundred television sets – television being a new invention at the time.

Best known for the iconic Trylon and Perisphere built especially for it, the World’s Fair ran from April to October in 1939 and 1940, closing its doors for good on October 27, 1940. It was the largest World’s Fair ever – even the 1964 World’s Fair, which was held on the same site, was not as large.

Referenced in:

Lydia the Tattooed Lady – Groucho Marx