All the stars are aligning these days for Queens, which has begun celebrating the milestone anniversaries of the two World’s Fairs that put the borough on the global map.
And in another development that is paying dividends, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Macy’s July 4 fireworks will move back to the East River — right in view of residents from Queens and Brooklyn. The mayor has not forgotten his outerborough roots.
Queens kicked off its six-month remembrance in Flushing Meadows this week, exactly 50 years after the 1964 World’s Fair opened at 10:45 a.m. April 22. The huge event was a showcase for American industry because the fair was not sanctioned by the international body overseeing these expositions and many large nations decided not to participate.
Johnson’s Wax introduced a movie short that went on to win an Academy Award, and General Motors wowed visitors with a ride called Futurama that took them on a tour of the near future as they sat in moving armchairs.
American’s architectural genius was on display in the $6 million New York State Pavilion, called the Tent of Tomorrow, designed by modernist Philip Johnson.
It is fitting that the festivities were officially launched at the pavilion, which is in dire need of restoration and has drawn the support of Borough President Melinda Katz, who wants the structure preserved despite the daunting cost.
The 75th anniversary of the 1939 World’s Fair, which transformed the Valley of the Ashes in “The Great Gatsby” into Flushing Meadows Corona Park under the iron hand of city Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, is being marked by other events.
Both fairs made Queens a household name in far-flung parts of the world.
In fact, state Assemblywoman Marge Markey, who co-chairs the Anniversary Committee with Katz, contends that many people from other countries who worked at the 1964 fair decided to move to Queens and contributed to the diversity of the borough.
In the midst of the anniversary celebrations, Queens will be feted with the nation’s largest fireworks extravaganza over the East River, and Long Island City could not be happier.
Restaurants, bars and other businesses in Long Island City are poised to welcome a surge in July 4 visitors, cheered on by Katz.
Queens is on a roll and we hope it lasts right into playoff season with the Mets.
©2014 Community News Group
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