Right next to the Tent of Tomorrow, the Theaterama building provided 360 degree views of New York state at the fair. Today, it has been turned into the Queens Theatre. Several artifacts from the fair were on display in the building – take a close look at the Progressland souvenir record. Additionally, several LEGO sets recreated some of the well-known pavilions seen in the 60s.
In the Queens Museum, the structure for which was built for the 1939 World’s Fair and was utilized as a temporary building for the United Nations from 1946-1950, there is a wider collection of memorabilia from the fair. Included are models of GE’s Progressland Pavilion, which housed Carousel of Progress, and the building that housed Ford’s Magic Skyway, both attractions that were built by Disney.
Also at the Queens Museum is a massive panorama map of New York City, which was originally designed for the ’64 Fair, where you had the opportunity to get a view at it from above. Now, at the Museum, you walk around it, as you take in the incredible detail, which allows you to spot specific buildings from throughout the entire city.
The icon of the 1964 World’s Fair was the Unisphere, which has gone on to become Queens’ most well-known monument. The globe is as beautiful as ever, symbolizing the shrinking size of the planet, given the increasing ease of traveling from one corner to the other. The Unisphere is a must-see for those who visit New York City.
The New York State Pavilion was declared a National Treasure today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Hopefully, after years of being ignored, the structures will be maintained so that the future can look back upon one of the most ambitious projects ever developed. The 1964 World’s Fair will always be meaningful for Disney, but should also be preserved in the heart of NYC and Queens, as it changed the face of the area forever. Many look back upon the destruction of the classic Penn Station in Manhattan as one of the greatest losses to the city – losing these icons would hurt just as much.
If you visit New York, make sure you make the trip out to the site. It may not be centrally located in the major tourist areas of Manhattan, but there is significant history here, which deserves to be shared with future generations.