When I briefly got my tough but tender hands on a copy of the Official Guidebook of the 1939 World’s Fair, I managed to also have a peek at the 1964 Guide. Like the 1939 World’s Fair, the later version took place in Flushing Queens, the neighborhood where both I and the 12-story-high Unisphere were born.
The 1964 World’s Fair had “Peace Through Understanding” as its theme and featured many exhibits that revolved around technology and space travel, unsurprising during the space-race decade. But it also presented Michelangelo’s Pieta, was responsible for popularizing the Belgian waffle in America and unveiled Disney’s animatronic “It’s A Small World” ride.
In addition to info about the prehistoric creatures on display in “Sinclair Dinoland” and the rockets in “Space Park,” the guide has an entry about a curious Cold War-esque subterranean structure prototype called “Underground World Home,” one of which still exists today. An excerpt:
“Something really different in housing is displayed here: a three-bedroom house, completely below ground level. It is presented as the forerunner of dwellings that the builder says have marked advantages for today’s living. Guides explain during the 20-minute tour why underground homes can provide more control over air, climate and noise than conventional houses–as well as protection from such hazards as fire and radiation fallout. The house occupies most of the area inside a rectangular concrete shell, the top of which is two and a half feet underground; a wide staircase brings visitors down to the front door. Windows of the house face scenic murals placed on walls of the shell.”
Tags: Jay Swayze