This year marks the 80th anniversary of the 1939-194o World’s Fair, which drew millions of visitors to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
On Sept. 6, the Bayside Historical Society (BHS) will commemorate the occasion with a book signing by World’s Fair authority, expert and author Bill Cotter. His book, “The 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair (Images of America)” shows how the exhibition brought a sense of hope toward the end of the Great Depression, even with the world on the edge of global conflict.
BHS will also showcase memorabilia and souvenirs from the historic fair. The event is free to BHS members and costs $5 for non-members. Visit the BHS website for more information and to register.
The World’s Fair opened on April 30, 1939, allowing visitors to get a glimpse at “The World of Tomorrow.” It was divided into several zones: transportation, communications and business systems, government, food and amusement.
Several of New York City’s businessmen along with Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Fair Corporation President Grover Whalen collaborated to plan the World’s Fair.
The event was the second most expensive American world’s fair, second to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.
Cotter’s book includes vintage photographs, many of which have not been published in the past. Each chapter takes readers through the fair zones, which were spread out across a 1,216-acre site in Flushing Meadows.
An estimated 45 million people from around the globe attended the World’s Fare during its two seasons, generating roughly $48 million in revenue.
The book selling and signing is on Friday, Sept. 6, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Bayside Historical Society headquarters at 208 Totten Ave.