It was the future. Covering 1,216 acres in Flushing Meadows, New York, the 1939 New York World’s Fair was erected on what was an ash-dump. In its first of two years the Fair was called “Building the World of Tomorrow,” and almost every inch anticipated the future of architecture, transport, communications, food and culture. It was arguably where design thinking was born, with industrial designers by the pound imagining the world as it would be in the 1960s.
For some people the Fair was the symbol of hope, for others it was but a shell, a stage-set future doomed by the world war that began the year the Fair opened in 1939. These photographs show that set being built. If you know the majesty that was the fair, you can see from these images how ephemeral it was.
The New York World’s Fair opened on April 30, 1939.
Print’s 75th Anniversary Issue: A celebration of all things print, and all things PRINT.
Exclusive new work by Milton Glaser, Jessica Hische, Paula Scher, Mucca Design and many more. The last of the magazine editors. Six unsung design heroes. The best of the Bauhaus. Get Print’s 75th anniversary issue today.