Urban Archive

View this collection and hundreds more
in the Urban Archive App.

Download on the App Store Launch App

April 30, 2019 was the 80th anniversary of the grand opening of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, which drew millions of visitors to Flushing Meadows, Queens to experience “The World of Tomorrow.” The Fair was divided into zones, each devoted to an aspect of modern life: Amusement, Communications and Business Systems, Community Interests, Food, Government, Medical and Public Health, Production and Distribution, Science and Education, and Transportation. States and countries exhibited their food and culture in designated areas; 33 U.S. states and Puerto Rico were represented, and all major countries participated except China and Germany. During the Fair’s second season in 1940, an American Common replaced the Soviet Union’s pavilion.

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, Fair Corporation President Grover Whalen, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt were involved in planning the Fair, which was meant to lift Americans’ spirits after the economic woes of the Depression. The Fair took nearly three years to construct, and over 200,000 people attended the grand opening – held symbolically on the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. Let us take a look at some images of the Fair’s attractions.