The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair, New York (Images of America Series)

The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair, New York (Images of America Series)

by Bill Cotter
     
 

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After enduring 10 harrowing years of the Great Depression, visitors to the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair found welcome relief in the fair's optimistic presentation of the "World of Tomorrow." Pavilions from America's largest corporations and dozens of countries were spread across a 1,216-acre site, showcasing the latest industrial marvels and predictions for the…  See more details below

Overview


After enduring 10 harrowing years of the Great Depression, visitors to the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair found welcome relief in the fair's optimistic presentation of the "World of Tomorrow." Pavilions from America's largest corporations and dozens of countries were spread across a 1,216-acre site, showcasing the latest industrial marvels and predictions for the future intermingled with cultural displays from around the world. Well known for its theme structures, the Trylon and Perisphere, the fair was an intriguing mixture of technology, science, architecture, showmanship, and politics. Proclaimed by many as the most memorable world's fair ever held, it predicted wonderful times were ahead for the world even as the clouds of war were gathering. Through vintage photographs, most never published before, The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair recaptures those days when the eyes of the world were on New York and on the future.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: New book captures era

Author: Nicholas Hirshon

Publisher: Queens Daily News

Date: 4/21/09

EVEN THOUGH the 1964 World's Fair captivated 12-year-old Bill Cotter, who was awestruck by the seemingly endless array of attractions, his enthusiasm failed to rub off on his mom and dad.

"They felt it was more commercial," said Cotter, 57, of Los Angeles. "They felt if you lived through the '39 fair, during the Depression, it was such a breath of fresh air."

His parents' stories of the first fair - held, like the 1964 expo, at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park - fascinated Cotter, whose book "Images of America: The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair," will be released June 15.

Featuring more than 200 never-before-published photos that Cotter bought online and at auctions and souvenir shows, the book separates sites into sections of the fair - called "centers" or "zones" - where they sat.

Perhaps the best remembered is the Theme Center, home to the fair's side-by-side icons, the 610-foot-tall Trylon and 180-foot-wide Perisphere, surrounded by fountains and walkways.

One of the book's most memorable images shows the Perisphere lit as a giant jack-o'-lantern on Halloween 1939, the final day of the fair's first season. Cotter notes the occasion was bittersweet because it was unclear if the fair would return in 1940.

In another shot, crowds are packed into the Amusement Area's New York State Amphitheater - torn down in 1996 - for a popular music, dance and swimming show called "Billy Rose's Aquacade."

"I wanted to use candid photos, and that's what 99.9% of them are," Cotter said. "I want to do this from the view of, 'What would the average person find special about the fair?'"

Visitors who couldn't afford admission to "Aquacade" or the Perisphere's futuristic diorama, called "Democracity," could still enjoy outdoor sights, including an 80-foot-tall sundial or a 60-foot-tall statue of George Washington.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738565347
Publisher:
Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
06/15/2009
Series:
Images of America Series
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
655,444
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author


Bill Cotter has been an avid scholar and fan of world's fairs since his first visit to the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. His collection of vintage photographs has been featured in numerous books, including three previous titles for Arcadia Publishing, as well as in magazine articles, documentaries, and Web sites that document the histories of the fairs.

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