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World's Fair 1964 photos and highlights

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair sought to capture the zeitgeist of the time. While showcasing elaborate visions of tomorrow, as well as inventions such as the video phone and the Belgian waffle, the fair also served to highlight car culture and the Space Age. And with a theme of "Peace Through Understanding" -- and several countries participating -- it also reflected Cold War anxieties of the time.

An aerial view of the fairgrounds

Encompassing nearly a square mile of land at
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation records? via NYPL

Encompassing nearly a square mile of land at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fair attracted over 50 million people during its two seasons. Here is an aerial view looking over the Japan pavilion.

The world comes to Queens

The New York World's Fair opened at Flushing
Photo Credit: Flickr/PLCjr

The New York World's Fair opened at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on April 21, 1964. It lasted two six-month seasons: from April until Oct. 18, 1964 and from April 21, 1965 to Oct. 17, 1965.

Fountains at the Unisphere

The Unisphere was both the symbolic and literal
Photo Credit: Flickr/PLCjr

The Unisphere was both the symbolic and literal center of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. It still stands today as a reminder of the momentous show.

A view of the Unisphere under construction

The United States Steel Corp. donated the stainless
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation records? via NYPL

The United States Steel Corp. donated the stainless steel Unisphere to the fair. It stands 140 feet above a 340-foot reflecting pool. The pedestal alone weighs 20 tons and was lowered into place by crane.

The New York State Pavilion

One of the most memorable structures of the
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation records? via NYPL

One of the most memorable structures of the fair, the New York State Pavilion, still stands today. To some, the structure is probably best known for its cameo appearance in the Men in Black movie series.

Futurama II

General Motors'
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corp. records? via NYPL

General Motors' "Futurama II" exhibit was a sequel to its mind-blowing original "Futurama" from the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. Visitors to "Tomorrow-Land" saw smart superhighways and ultra-modernist architecture. It was among the biggest hits at the fair.

The world of tomorrow at night

Here's another view of the Futuruma II exhibit
Photo Credit: Courtesy Queens Museum

Here's another view of the Futuruma II exhibit showing the fountain outside the building.

On the moon and underwater

The Futurama exhibit included a model of a
Photo Credit: worldsfairphotos.com/Bill Cotter

The Futurama exhibit included a model of a soon-to-be-realized underwater hotel.

Life under the ice

The Futurama II exhibit was comprised of a
Photo Credit: Queens Museum Collection

The Futurama II exhibit was comprised of a succession of "techno-colonies" to portray this vision of the future.

Trip to the moon

Visitors to the moon might take a rid
Photo Credit: Queens Museum Collection

Visitors to the moon might take a rid in this fantastic six-wheeled troller. And home? Looks nice!

Bell Systems presents the picturephone

Bell Systems (today's AT&T) demonstrated its picturephone at
Photo Credit: AT&T

Bell Systems (today's AT&T) demonstrated its picturephone at its pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair. Years before peer-to-peer video calling over the Internet, the picturephone not only allowed people to call people and hear them — but also to see them as well.

Visitors entered a booth to use the Picturephone

Unlike today's Skype, for instance, the user of
Photo Credit: Worldfairphotos.com/Bill Cotter

Unlike today's Skype, for instance, the user of a Picturephone had to enter a booth and sit in front of a "picture unit." "The device was a long oval tube, measuring about one foot wide and seven inches high and about a foot in depth," wrote Jon Gertner, author of "The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation."

Color television also got its big coming-out at the fair

Industry decided to make 1964 the year of
Photo Credit: worldsfairphotos.com/Bill Cotter

Industry decided to make 1964 the year of color television, and bring it to the masses via the massive commercial platform of the New York World’s Fair. RCA spearheaded the effort, creating a splash at its pavilion with its color TV studio where attendees were taped “live.”

Ford's iconic Mustang unveiled

Ford introduced its iconic Mustang to the public
Photo Credit: Ford Motor Co.

Ford introduced its iconic Mustang to the public at the World's Fair. Models were exhibited both inside and outside of the company's pavilion. Named for the Mustang fighter plane from World War II, the a two-door with standard equipment was initially priced at $2,368. It came in both convertible and hardtop.

Mustangs were displayed inside the Ford pavilion

Press materials distributed at the time touted the
Photo Credit: Ford Motor Co.

Press materials distributed at the time touted the Mustang as the result of a marriage between a "fun-to-drive" economy car and a performance road car. "All with luxury and sports options as desired," the press kit said.

The House of Good Taste

The House of Good Taste was created to
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation records? via NYPL

The House of Good Taste was created to be a "monument" to synthetic construction materials, according to the book "The End of Innocence." The white siding of the building was made of plastics.

International Pavilions

Several countries had pavilions at the New York
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair Corp. brochure illustration

Several countries had pavilions at the New York World's Fair — in spite of the fact that it was not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions.

The House of Japan

The House of Japan showcased a mix of
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation records? via NYPL

The House of Japan showcased a mix of both traditional customs and modern culture.

Olmec head arrives at the fair

Countries also used the fair to highlight their
Photo Credit: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation records? via NYPL

Countries also used the fair to highlight their cultural riches. Here former New York Gov. Charles Poletti stands beside an Olmec head after its arrival at the Mexican pavilion.

Artists including Warhol created works for the NY pavilion

Several artists including Andy Warhol, pictured here in
Photo Credit: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society

Several artists including Andy Warhol, pictured here in a photo by Billy Name, were invited to contribute artworks to be displayed at the New York State Pavilion.

Warhol created silkscreens of NYPD mugshots

Warhol made the decision to create a series
Photo Credit: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society

Warhol made the decision to create a series of silkscreens of NYPD mugshots of 13 of the most wanted criminals. The works were then displayed on the side of the state's pavilion.

Days later, Warhol's work was painted over

Warhol's
Photo Credit: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society

Warhol's "13 Most Wanted Men" was installed on April 15, 1964. But officials objected to the content and had the work painted over a few days later. Only a 20 by 20 foot silver square remained visible when the fair opened on April 22.

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