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Bill Young

The 1940 World's Fair Bomb Blast

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There was some discussion on the old Message Board about the 1940 bomb blast at the NY World's Fair that killed two police officers.

I found this article in the Queens Courier entitled "Tragedy at the World of Tomorrow: The 4th of 40"

The article talks about the blast, its aftermath, the toll on the families, the plaque to commemorate their heroism and the efforts to restore it. The article appeared in the Queens Courier the week fo June 29 - July 5, 2000. The URL follows

<a href="http://www.queenscourier.com/Archives/2000/lead062900b.htm" target="_blank">http://www.queenscourier.com/Archives/2000...lead062900b.htm</a>

If this was listed before, my apologies for being redundant. It's a very good, complete account of this tragedy.

Bill

nywf64.com

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Re: the July 1940 bomb blast -- has anyone read through microfilm of the New York newspapers regarding this event?

I was talking at some length with my father today, about the 1939/40 Fair -- he worked there, all but about the last three weeks -- and his recollections of the incident are not particularly vivid. He recalls it happening, but doesn't have much in the way of detail. Insofar as he is, at 83, quite a bit sharper than I am, I have to wonder if this particular tragedy was downplayed at the time.....

Considering the state of the world at that point in history, and the relative tractability of the media, I can easily envision such a scenario taking place. Any thoughts?

-- Doug Peterson --

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Well, for what it's worth, my mom's in her 70s and she remembers it quite well. She was very impressed to see the memorial on a recent visit we made out to the Park site, and talked about how horrible the blast was - both for the cops who were killed, and for the loss of innocence at the Fair. She also talks about how the lights went dark on the Italian pavilion as they entered the war.

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Bill and all interested:

This is a photo I took of the Monument for the two Police Officers who died on July 4, 1940. It is located to the left of the Queens Museum entrance.

<a href="http://webusers.warwick.net/~u1011178/pdmonument.JPG" target="_blank">http://webusers.warwick.net/~u1011178/pdmonument.JPG</a>

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This is great information. Thanks to all. Those must have been difficult days for everyone even at the fair. From my understanding, several pavilions stood empty during the 1940 fair: Czechoslovakia, Poland and Lithuania to name a few. I do not know if the French pavilion remained operative but the British pavilion exhibited new war materiels and a captured German parachute. I find it curious the Italian pavilion dimmed its lights. Italy willingly entered the war, on Germany's side, by declaring war on France just days before France surrendered to Germany. All war news broadcast were edited on the fair's public address system and visitors were even "discouraged from discussing the European situation" at Fair restaurants (NY Times). The real World of Tomorrow, outside of Flushing Meadow, was becoming a very ugly place.

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Bill-

Ask your mother if it was Poland Pavilion that went dark. I believe Poland closed suddenly at the NYWF39-40 when the homeland was overtaken.

Rich Post

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Well, mom thinks it was Italy, and my grandmother had said the same thing. I imagine more than one pavilion closed up shop under those circumstances. I gather that Italy was particularly beautiful, and thus stood out when it went dark. I remember mom saying people started crying and they didn't want to tell her why.

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Regarding the Blast on July 4, 1940 at the World's Fair, the police had a two-day warning about the bomb. In New York City, three other bombs went off in the previous two weeks. 400 letters were sent to the police regarding the sabotage planed for the fair.

The site of the blast is about 100 yards southeast of the Post Office at FMCP. I found no record of any pavilion closing or going dim in the aftermath of the tragedy. The next day extra police were placed around the British and Italian pavilions. Each pavilion reported experiencing larger crowds the days after the bomb was discovered. I read eyewitness accounts of the police officers huddled around the briefcase as it was being opened. Things have changed in the years that followed. Imagine a half dozen police officers crowding around a bomb to look inside.

[This message has been edited by Hoodlock (edited 09-26-2000).]

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