Garden Outlines World’s Fair Festivities

17 Garden1

At a press conference, Queens Botanical Garden
executive director Susan Lacerte, Councilman
Peter Koo, Taiwanese Ambassador Paul Wen-liang
Chang and others introduced the orchid exhibit
that kicked off the garden’s series of World’s Fair
events. Photo by Joe Marvilli

Staff Writer

While many enjoyed wandering around the Taiwanese orchid display at Queens Botanical Garden earlier this month, it was just the first of numerous events at the venue that will celebrate the anniversary of Queens’ two World Fairs.

The botanical garden has a slew of ceremonies planned for the 75th anniversary of the 1939-40 World’s Fair and the 50th anniversary of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. From exhibits to day-long events, there will be something for everyone between the months of May and November.

From May 6 to Sept. 28, QBG’s gallery will host “Harvesting our History: The Story of Queens Botanical Garden.” The exhibit will look back at both World’s Fairs and the garden’s history, mainly through material from their archives. The opening reception will take place on June 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Joyce and Ed Morrill, who worked on the exhibit, expressed that it was a challenge to put together, but the result will be worth the effort.

“This has certainly been a collaborative, creative process,” Joyce said.

From May 24-26, the Long Island Garden Railway Society will present a working “G-scale” model train exhibit at the garden. On May 24, there will be a festival with food and craft vendors, a trackless train for rides through the garden and a 4 p.m. concert by John Yao’s Big Band.

In mid-June, the garden will install special plantings, including an Entry Garden with living reproductions of the Trylon and Perisphere, modernistic structures from the 1939 World’s Fair. The Trylon was a 610-foot spire and the Perisphere was 180 feet in diameter.

For those of you who are 21 or older, the garden will host a World’s Fair Brew Fest on July 19, with two tasting sessions that start at noon and 4 p.m. Attendees will get to sample beers from around the world, enjoy music, eat food and shop at craft vendors. Tickets are required.

Another long-term, multimedia exhibit at the garden is coming in August. “The New York World’s Fairs and The Port Authority: Bringing Trade, Travel and Tourism to Queens, the Region and the World” will run from Aug. 5 through Nov. 1. It will show how aviation, the Port Authority, New York and New Jersey all contributed to the success of the fairs and boosted the economy of the region.

Finally, on Sept. 28, QBG will host a lecture on the World’s Fair. Margaret Tockarshewsky, the executive director of the New Haven Museum, will begin her talk at 2 p.m.

During a conference on April 2 announcing the schedule, Pauline Huang, a Queens Botanical Garden trustee, tweaked a favorite phrase of Borough President Melinda Katz to state why people should visit QBG this summer.

“People who come to New York do not complete their tour unless they come to Queens. People who come to Queens do not complete their tour unless they come to the botanical garden,” she said.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125,, or @Joey788.