PREPARATION OF THE SITE
FOR THE
WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965

 

April 18, 1960

 

Hon. Robert F. Wagner
Mayor of the City of New York
City Hall
New York 7, N. Y.
 
Dear Sir:
 
On October 30, 1959 I requested that the City provide a sufficient sum for preparation of a preliminary consultants' report on the development of Flushing Meadow Park as a site for the World's Fair of 1964-1965. Funds for this purpose were voted on December 3, 1959 to engage the services of Clarke and Rapuano, Andrews & Clark, and Richard C. Guthridge.
 
Conferences were held with various federal, state and city agencies involved and the report which follows represents conclusions more or less unanimously agreed to. I believe this report will serve admirably as a basis for the groundwork for the Fair and for the park restoration which will follow.
 
To sum up, it is the object of this report to establish, or rather re-establish, the framework for the new Fair. There will be plenty of room within this framework for new concepts, forms and functions, but the essential character of the Meadow as modified and molded for the Fair of 1939-1940 must still be a controlling factor in the building of the Fair of 1964-1965.
           
          Cordially,
          Commissioner of Parks

Flushing Meadow Park - April 18, 1960
Flushing Meadow aerial - 1960

April 18, 1960

 

Hon. Robert F. Wagner
Mayor of the City of New York
City Hall
New York 7, N. Y.
 
Dear Sir:
 
The Board of Estimate approved an agreement between the City of New York, through the Commissioner of Parks, with the undersigned on December 3, 1959 for preparation of a study and report on the use of Flushing Meadow Park in the Borough of Queens as the site for the World's Fair.
 
We have prepared and delivered to you 2,000 copies of the required printed report.
 
Our findings and recommendations, set forth in detail in a supplementary report submitted separately, are summarized in this report.
 
The wholehearted co-operation of the City Construction Coordinator's office, the City Parks Department and many other City agencies has been invaluable in the preparation of this report
           
          Respectfully submitted,
           
          CLARKE AND RAPUANO
          ANDREWS & CLARK
          RICHARD C. GUTHRIDGE

LEASE LINES

[The following] portions of Flushing Meadow Park and Kissena Corridor Park [are] recommended for lease to the Fair Corporation in accordance with the act authorizing the lease. With minor exception, these portions include Flushing Meadow Park from Roosevelt Avenue to 69th Road and Kissena Corridor Park between Lawrence and Main Streets, comprising an area of 646 acres. Deducting Meadow Lake, the remaining net usable area totals 565 acres, an area we deem to be adequate for the Fair. This net area includes 9 acres of new land made by filling a limited section of Meadow Lake along its westerly shore. This filling should be at the expense of the Fair Corporation.

It is recommended that all present leases, affecting lands now temporarily assigned to other City agencies within this area to be leased to the Fair Corporation, be terminated by the end of 1962.

PARKING

The estimated annual attendance at the 1964-1965 World's Fair is 40,000,000. Guided by 1939-1940 World's Fair experience, and in consideration of the increase in car registration and the improved highway network which will lead to the Fair in 1964, we recommend the construction of seven automobile parking fields with a capacity of 20,000 cars.

Kissena Corridor Park is separated from the main area of the Fair by two barriers, Lawrence Street and the proposed Van Wyck Expressway Extension, which will prevent its satisfactory integration for exhibition uses within the principal portion of the Fair grounds. Therefore, the Kissena Corridor area is suitable only for automobile parking.

It is recommended that the parking fields be constructed, maintained and operated by the Fair Corporation.

EXISTING CONDITIONS

We have checked the utility lines to determine their condition and found that a large percentage of these lines are usable although they are in need of repairs. The extent of replacements or additions to these lines depends upon the development of the plan of the Fair and hence cannot be determined at this time. We recommend that all replacements and additions be built by the Fair Corporation at its expense and that those facilities, which the Department of Parks determines necessary for the restoration and future development of the Park, be of permanent construction.

We recommend that the Fair Corporation be permitted to use the present Boat House on the easterly shore of Meadow Lake. However, the City Building should remain under the control of the Commissioner of Parks, and should house the official city exhibit. The State Amphitheater should house the State pageant if the State wishes to use the structure in this way or should be available to the Fair Corporation for some theatrical concession. The Corporation may also use the existing piles and foundations of former structures if further investigation shows them to be safe for the uses intended. We recommend also that the Corporation may alter or eliminate the existing park improvements and the pattern of park roads and paths with the understanding, however, that they be reconstructed as shown on the plan of the restored park.

The existing large trees planted for the 1939-1940 World's Fair, shown on the aerial photograph, shall not be removed without permission of the Department of Parks.

SPECIAL BUILDING AND SANITARY CODES

We have reviewed the action taken in 1939 by the State, the City and the former Fair Corporation in respect to adoption of special building and sanitary codes applicable then. Similar codes, brought up to date by committees of the Fair Corporation, should be adopted for the 1964-1965 World's Fair.

CITY, STATE AND FEDERAL EXHIBITS

It is recommended that a City exhibit, to be designed, built, maintained and manned by a temporary commission, be housed in the present City building. Only minor alterations to make the structure suitable for exhibition use will be required.

It is suggested that the State arrange for an exhibit in the existing Amphitheater building, which should be appropriately altered. This structure was built by the State for the 1939-1940 World's Fair.

It is suggested that the Federal exhibit be housed in a building prominently situated and reflecting our country's leadership.

Required legislation to assure the City's and the Federal government's exhibits should be enacted. We understand that the statute for State participation has already been adopted.

STADIUM

It is assumed that the proposed Stadium with 55,000 seats, will be in operation prior to the opening date of the 1964-1965 World's Fair. It is suggested that combination tickets, admitting the holder to both the Stadium and the Fair, be offered for sale. It is also suggested that the Fair Corporation arrange to rent the Stadium, when it is not in use by regular tenants, for special events which may require a large seating capacity, thus adding to the interest of the Fair.

DURATION OF THE FAIR

Tentative estimates of the costs of construction and operation, based in part on the 1939-1940 World's Fair, indicate that it will not be possible to finance and operate the Fair successfully unless it runs for two years.

INTRAMURAL TRANSPORTATION

We suggest electric tractor trains, special buses and lounge cars as suitable means of transportation for patrons within the Fair grounds.

Operation of the intermural transportation system should be by contract with experienced transportation corporations.

PARK RESTORATION

A plan has been prepared to show the restored park. Modification and details will be developed by the Department of Parks prior to reconstruction. All restoration work shall be done by the Fair Corporation at its expense.

We are of the opinion that no consideration be given to proposals to turn the Fair, when it ends, into an international university or an enterprise of similar character. Flushing Meadow Park must by law be turned back to the City as a usable park for the benefit of the people of the City of New York.

SOURCE: Report, Preparation of the Site for the World's Fair 1964-1965, excerpted

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