BY JOE MARVILLI
Get ready to celebrate.
Queens will host seven months’ worth of events throughout the Borough to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair and the 75th anniversary of the 1939 World’s Fair. The festivities were announced on March 28 in one of the buildings constructed for the ’39 World’s Fair, the same structure that now houses the Queens Museum.
The announcement was led by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth), the co-chairs of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee, an umbrella group that includes elected officials, the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, NYC & Company, the Queens Tourism Council and participating cultural organizations.
Katz said that the World’s Fairs both contributed to the development of Queens and represented the greatness of the Borough.
“We are in the World’s Borough. It is our asset. It is our strength,” she said.
Katz added that these celebrations will draw attention to Queens and help her goal of making the Borough stand out as a must-see destination for New Yorkers and for those visiting.
“You should never come to the City of New York as a tourist and think you have seen the City of New York until you have been to the Borough of Queens,” Katz said.
Markey said that the 1964 World’s Fair also added to Queens’ diversity. Many of the people who worked at the various national pavilions wound up staying in the Borough, settling down and raising their families here.
One of the biggest supporters of the World’s Fair, CEO of Gristedes Foods and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, was at the announcement.
“I think it’s wonderful that they’re doing it. The over-60 crowd is going to have wonderful memories,” he said. “When [Katz] was talking about it at her press conference, it brought back some sweet memories of my youth.”
Catsimatidis added that he would love to see the World’s Fair return to the City, with the same type of vision that was prevalent in the 1960s. “I think it will inspire our youth. It will be great economic development in New York,” he said. “I’m going to urge Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo to at least do a study on what a World’s Fair could do for our City and our State.”
[Editor’s Note: See an op-ed from Catsimatidis on page 6.]
The biggest event of the summer will be the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival on May 18. Running from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Unisphere, the celebration will feature tours of historic World’s Fair sites, memorabilia exhibits, a visit from Mr. Met and more. Afterwards, there will be a concert from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
For more information on these events and all the others happening this summer, visit www.nycgo.com/worldsfair.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.