1964 World's Fair 50 years later - New York News

1964 World's Fair 50 years later

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Fifty years after the 1964 World's Fair, the 13-story central icon for that celebration of "peace through understanding" remains the largest replica of our planet ever constructed.

Queens Museum archives manager Louise Weinberg enjoys the steel replica of the shell of planet earth outside her office but prefers parks commissioner, power broker, and then World's Fair president Robert Moses' 900,000-structure replica of New York City.

"The legacy of that fair: It's kind of anything goes," Weinberg says.

The space race in the 1950s and '60s influenced nearly every element of this World's Fair from its pavilions to its exhibits to the expectations of the more than 50 million people who came to see actual rockets like these.

"There was a man in the moon and he flew around literally in a jet pack which of course no one is wearing today," Weinberg says.

We find a lot of those failed predictions when revisiting the '64 World's Fair. The entire event sought to show visitors a snapshot of life 50 years in the future or a lot sooner. Exhibits hypothesized cities built underwater, colonies on the moon, and a planet fueled entirely by nuclear power.

"Little kids went and took their dime and had it radiated in us atomic energy area," Weinberg says.

Fifty years later, we now try to keep our children away from radiation, the buildings from the fair look more art deco than futuristic, and our government no longer funds exploration of what lies behind our planet, making that celebration beginning in April 1964 all the more unique.

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