Jump to content
1964 NYWF Forever

Happy 80th Anniversary 1939 New York World's Fair!!!

Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone:

Wanted to be the first to post this morning about today being the 80th Anniversary of the Opening Ceremonies for the 1939 New York World's Fair.  Must have been amazing to have been there and see it all first hand as everyone waited anxiously to be able to start walking around the grounds of the fair and entering into the gorgeous pavilions!!!  If I could be there on that date 80 years ago, the first thing I would head for would be a trip through the Futurama!!!  How about everyone else- what would be the first thing you would want to see at the fair?  

Ronald

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You beat me to it!  The RCA exhibit for me, of course. Then, I think, the Perisphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonder what the hype and anticipation was like in the run up. I was 7 when NYWF64 opened so I know how a kid felt, but I have zero recollection of opening day itself, or even my first visit! Perhaps I didn’t realize how amazing the fair was until actually visiting.

I think the difference between the ordinary world and that shown at a fair has shrunk over the decades.

Moving sidewalks and the Eifel tower, the electric lights of the Chicago fair, were vastly different from the ordinary Parisian’s and rural midwesterner’s experience. By 1939 we’d had the Panama Canal, massive western dams, skyscrapers, and photography to spread their images, so engineering marvels were already part of life.

The Perisphere was physically huge and no doubt impressive, but the theme, World of Tomorrow,  was uniquely forward looking, compared to previous fairs which IIRC were more show and tells, and spectacle.

And, oh yeah, Futurama for sure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I'd want to see? The first sunset in the Theme Area, with the Perisphere lit red and swollen...walk around the Helicline clockwise starting under the Observation bridge, stop at The Astronomer, turn my back to the nearly complete sunset and look back to the Plaza of Light to see the first lights of the Power Zone exhibits flash on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Trylon and Perisphere would have mesmerized me.  Nevertheless, I would have headed directly to Westinghouse and the "Immortal Well."  Time capsules are endlessly fascinating and considering this particular capsule is one of the very few 1939 relics in the park, it has enduring ties to that wonderful moment in time.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First for me would have been the Trylon & Perisphere itself, then Dali's Dream of Venus and then eat at Hungarian Pavilion's restaurant.  Oft forgotten about the 1939 fair was the exquisite restaurants, it was a first in America to have such a variety food.  The best remembered eateries were the French Pavilion,  Romanian Pavilion, Hungarian Pavilion, Polish Pavilion and Borden's.   Because of the war many of the restaurants migrated into Manhattan after the fair and sparked NYC's post war dining scene. 

A fact that amuses me is the one major pavilion restaurant to lose money was Italy.  In the 1939 season they lost $250,000. I would assume it was due to the plethora of Italian restaurants already in the city, there was no exotic nature to it.  In fact Italy was so angry they almost did not return for the 1940 season.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents loved it.

It's the 55th anniversary of the opening of my Fair.  Yikes how did that happen?  It doesn't seem that long ago to me. I remember opening day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×