October 17, 1965: The 1964 New York World’s Fair closes. Also called EXPO New York 1964/1965, the fair’s theme was “Peace Through Understanding”. It was dedicated to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe” and American companies dominated the exposition. There were two six-month seasons with the first running form April 22 to October 18, 1964 and the second from April 21 – October 17, 1965. The admission price in 1964 was $2 for adults and $1 for children (about $15 and $7 respectively in 2014 dollars). The next year, the adult admission price was raised to $2.50 but children’s price remained the same.
The centerpiece of the EXPO was a twelve-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth called the Unisphere. Surrounded by fountains, it remains intact and located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in the borough of Queens, New York City. It was originally designed by landscape architect Gilmore Clarke and then refined by Industrial Designers at Peter Muller-Munk Associates. The original aluminum and metallic mesh continents morphed into the Stainless Steel globe which was built on the foundation that supported the Perisphere of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. Both of these events were preceded by the 1853-54 New York World’s Fair. All three of these were the only World’s Fairs which ran for two years rather than one.
The 1964/65 fair was conceptualized by New York City businessmen who fondly remembered the fair in the City during their younger years. A feasibility study was carried out and organizers turned to private funding and the sale of bonds to pay the huge cost of staging the event. The influx of tourists was considered to be worth the investment. Many of the pavilions were built in a modern style, heavily influenced by Googie architecture – a subdivision of futurist architecture of the Space Age and Atomic Age. The buildings were often able to have a more expressive façade due to the use of modern building materials.
The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) did not give its official sanction to the event. The absence of Canada, Australia, most major European nations and the Soviet Union tarnished the image of the fair. Almost all corporations in America had a presence along with nations with smaller economies. Spain, Vatican City, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Thailand, Philippines, Greece, Pakistan, and Ireland had national presences at the fair. One of the most popular pavilions was the Vatican City’s with Michelangelo’s Pieta on display. The fair did not have a midway as organizers did not feel it was the proper tone for the fair and the amusements provided were somewhat dull. The fair’s ending was shrouded in controversy over mismanagement of funds. The 1939 fair had returned 40 cents on the dollar for investors. This fair only returned 19.2 cents.
I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they’ve ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn’t know, because I won’t ever dare ask that question. – Dylan Thomas
New York is the meeting place of the peoples, the only city where you can hardly find a typical American. – Djuna Barnes
Make your mark in New York and you are a made man. – Mark Twain
New York, you are an Egypt! But an Egypt turned inside out. For she erected pyramids of slavery to death, and you erect pyramids of democracy with the vertical organ-pipes of your skyscrapers all meeting at the point of infinity of liberty! – Salvador Dalí
Also on this day: National Geographic – In 1888, the National Geographic Society began publishing a new magazine.
Fore – In 1860, the Open Championship was first played.
War on Poverty – In 1993, the UN sponsored its first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Tornado – In 1091, the London Tornado struck.