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

  • © Greg Lecoeur / UPY2020

    Winners of the 2020 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest

    Some of this year’s winners and honorees, showing remarkable scenes from oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world

  • Stas Moroz / Shutterstock

    Oregon: Images of the Beaver State

    A few glimpses into the varied landscape of Oregon, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Eduard Korniyenko / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Ghost Ship, Greek Spring, Naked Festival

    Dog catchers in Cairo, luge championships in Russia, flooding in parts of England, a crash at the Daytona 500, demining in Colombia, Carnival in Venice, and much more

  • Art Media / Print Collector / Getty

    The Great Sphinx of Giza Through the Years

    Images of the Sphinx over the past 170 years, from Maxime du Camp’s 1849 travel photo to 21st-century light shows