Local nabes take center stage at ‘64 Fair
by Michael Perlman
Jul 23, 2019 | 1851 views | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It has been 55 years since the 1964–1965 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It was the largest World’s Fair ever held in America, with over 51 million visitors on 646 acres representing 80 nations and 24 states. There were 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, and over 45 corporations that exhibited.

“The Fair aims to be universal, to have something for everyone,” wrote Robert Moses at the time. “What is it you want? Vast forces dormant in nuggets of imprisoned sunlight? Machines that fly, think, transport, fashion and do man's work? Spices, perfumes, ivory, apes and peacocks? Dead Sea Scrolls?”

Although the Fair featured an international presence, local communities were celebrated during “Forest Hills-Kew Gardens-Kew Gardens Hills Day on April 25, 1964, three days after the Fair’s launch.

The day introduced fair-goers to various facets of community life, ranging from tennis at the West Side Tennis Club to the choral harmonies of local public schools.

“The thousands of local residents participating in the all-day program demonstrate that an extremely active community exists within New York City,” the program read, “which has both the sophistication and complexity of activities of an urban community while retaining the individuality and warmth of a neighborhood.

“The three communities have a distinction within New York City as they blend urban and suburban life,” it continued. “Modern skyscraper apartment houses and handsome one and two-family homes; beautiful tree-lined streets and conveniently located shopping areas.”

Festivities began with the Kew Gardens Hills Little League Parade, followed by the Forest Hills High School’s Band, Glee Club and Choral Society, Folk Dancing Team, Orchestra, and Gymnastic Team. The PS 168 Choral Society performed, followed by the NYS Pavilion becoming a runway for the Stern’s Department Store Fashion Show.

By mid-afternoon, attendees would enjoy the Seuffert Organ Recital, Russell Sage JHS Choral Society, PS 154 Folk Dancing Group, and PS 196 Junior and Senior Glee Clubs.

Festivities continued with the Long Island Institute of Music School of Ballet, a presentation by members of the West Side Tennis Club, First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills African Dance Group, and the Couture Group Fashion Show. The evening ended on a high note with the Longine Symphonette.

The Forest Hills-Kew Gardens-Kew Gardens Hills Day World’s Fair Committee was co-chaired by Senator Seymour Thaler of Forest Hills and Assemblyman Moses Weinstein of Kew Gardens Hills, and was comprised of 32 local residents who planned the festivities.

Local organizations that contributed to its success were the American Jewish Congress, Church-in-the-Gardens, Cord Meyer Development Company, First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills, Forest Hills Celebrations Association, Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, Forest Hills Inn, Forest Hills Jewish Center, Forest Hills Music Festival, the Kalikow family, and St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Church.

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