The 1939 New York World's Fair

An idea dreamed up at the height of the depression, the theme of the 1939 World's Fair in New York was "The World of Tomorrow." Planners were given permission to develop 1,200 acres in Queens, on the site of a former ash dump . Government agencies, corporations, civic groups, and smaller organizations from around the world arrived in huge numbers, building extraordinary pavilions and setting up exhibitions. The iconic Trylon and Perisphere structures became the symbols of the entire fair; they housed a diorama called "Democracity," a utopian city of the future. Over the course of two seasons, 44 million people attended the fair, catching glimpses of a possible future, and enjoying entertainments from marionette shows and thrill rides to girlie shows and choreographed aquatic extravaganzas.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Ognen Teofilovski / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 6/18-6/24

    A glass slide 1,000 feet above the ground in Los Angeles, an emu is helped away from a California wildfire, a selfie in the 125 degrees Fahrenheit heat of Palm Springs, a Hello Kitty face grown on a melon in Japan, and much more.

  • Roger Steffens / Benrubi Gallery

    A Family Album on Acid

    Roger Steffens’ photographs of his wife, son, and daughter during the Electric Kool-Aid era

  • Sergio Perez / Reuters

    A Tripped Syrian Refugee Finds a Home in Spain

    Last September, photos of a Syrian refugee being tripped by a Hungarian camerawoman as he tried to flee border police went viral. His story caught the attention of a soccer training school near Madrid that helped him find work and a new home.

  • Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

    Photos of Southern California's Wildfires

    A punishing heat wave across the American Southwest has spawned a number of early season wildfires in Southern California, including the Sherpa Fire, which has burned nearly 8,000 acres in less than a week.

Join the Discussion