1964 US Olympic Trials at Kissena Velodrome. From page 47 of “30 years of progress, 1934-1964 : Department of Parks : 300th anniversary of the City of New York : New York World’s Fair.” (1964). Via Internet Archive Book Images on Flickr
From the late 1890s through the 1920s, tens of thousands of New Yorkers turned out to witness the high drama of competitive bicycle speed racing. In New York, there were Velodromes (cycling tracks) at Coney Island, in the Bronx, and even at the original Madison Square Garden, where grueling six-day races called “Madisons” pushed riders to their limits. The sport fell prey to the Depression, and today there are just 26 Velodromes in the United States, including one in New York City, the Kissena Velodrome in Flushing’s Kissena Park, known to Velodrome enthusiasts as “the Track of Dreams.”
One of New York City’s most spirited events kicks off next Tuesday: the Lunar New Year. With multiple Chinatowns and Asian communities across the five boroughs, there is no shortage of events to celebrate the nearly two-week long holiday, which is said to have originated more than 4,000 years ago. While the most well-known festivity is the colorful parade in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, other Lunar New Year events in Flushing, Sunset Park, and Staten Island should not be overlooked. Embrace the Year of the Pig, the 12th zodiac animal said to signal good fortune, with lantern decorating events, dumpling and noodle-making classes, traditional dance and song, and sparkling firecracker ceremonies.
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Designed by Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair to embody the architectural essence of Space Age futurism, the New York State Pavilion has been battered by the ensuing decades to the point of becoming valued as an “historic ruin.” As 6sqft previously reported, plans to restore the site have been progressing slowly even with new funding from the city. Now, Curbed reports, the iconic site in Flushing, Queens, will be getting a $16.5 million grant from FEMA for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs.
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Elmhurst’s Chinatown. Image: Wiki Commons.
Recent economic snapshots issued by the state comptroller show that New York City has continued to experience record economic expansion in the past three years. This growth has been led by notable gains in the economies of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx (Staten Island’s report is expected later this year), which since the 1990s have seen an economic boost from a large increase in their immigrant populations, Crain’s reports. The revitalization of these immigrant-rich areas has led to an uptick in the number of businesses as well as sales and job growth. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1990. Queens, the borough that is home the city’s most diverse population and becoming more so, is clearly one to watch.
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Image: NYC Design Awards.
Designed by starchitect Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair to embody the architectural essence of Space Age futurism, the New York State Pavilion, has, in the ensuing decades, become what amNY called a “hulking 54-year-old relic of the World’s Fair,” though it has never lost its modernist cachet and has gained value as an historic ruin of sorts. Recently, talk of restoring the pavilion beyond its current inglorious purgatory slowly appears to be moving toward actual plans with funding attached. City officials and preservationists have secured $14 million for specific repairs and improvements to the pavilion.
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Rendering via Monadnock Development
Three-and-a-half years ago, the Department of City Planning enlisted Monadnock Development to build a mixed-use project in downtown Flushing, Queens. Located at 133-45 41st Avenue and dubbed One Flushing, the development has 22,000 square feet of retail space, along with 232 all-affordable apartments, nearly 40 percent of which is set aside as supportive senior housing. Including low- and middle-income units, the lottery for these residences has just opened, ranging from $548/month studios to $2,302/month three-bedrooms. In addition to being just around the corner from the 7 train and adjacent to the Flushing-Main Street LIRR Station, the building offers a 156-space public parking lot, 24-hour attended lobby, laundry room, bike storage, tenant lounge and terrace, fitness center, and rooftop garden.
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The intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street in Flushing. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Flushing, Queens is a dining destination for serious foodies and fans of any of a cornucopia of authentic Asian and Indian delights; from June 15-17, you can sample the international cuisine with discounts and a tour to help you with the highlights; the Flushing’s World Fair is a three-day expo that brings together the businesses, cultural institutions and historic landmarks of the diverse and dynamic community.
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Photo via Wikimedia
A newly constructed four-story residential building in Murray Hill is now accepting applications for three middle-income units. But it’s not the Murray Hill of Manhattan you know, but instead a quiet enclave in Queens, part of the sprawling neighborhood of Flushing. Found at 168-05 Depot Road, the rental sits just four blocks from the Long Island Rail Road station at Broadway. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the area median income can apply for the $1,700/month one-bedroom and two $1,950/month two-bedrooms.
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Aerial view of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair; via NYPL
On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. The fair, which spread across 1,200 acres, commemorated the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration in Lower Manhattan, and had a central theme of “Building the World of Tomorrow.” Construction of the fair began in 1936, which involved turning the Corona city dump and tidal swamp into the fairgrounds. After the land was cleared, hundreds of architects, designers, engineers and construction workers came together to transform the dump into the site for the World’s Fair.
The “Trylon”, a 700-foot obelisk, and the “Perisphere,” a 200-foot globe, stood in the center of the fairgrounds, soon becoming permanent symbols of the Fair. Many American corporations, including the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, the Borden Company and General Motors, participated, as a way to introduce fairgoers to new products. With close to 60 nations and 33 U.S. states participating, and its own subway line, the 1939 World’s Fair remains one of the largest, and most iconic, international fairs in history. Ahead, check out some of the photos of the historic World’s Fair, found in the New York Public Library’s extensive collection.
Go back in time
Photo via Wikimedia
For two six-month seasons in 1964, the World’s Fair came to Queens, with exhibits featured from over 80 nations spread across 646 acres. The fair came at a time of mid-20th-century innovation and culture, at the height of the Space Age. It served as a moment of peace before the start of the Vietnam War, with its motto “Peace Through Understanding.” And while many New Yorkers attended the historic event, or have heard stories recounted by parents and grandparents, it’s hard to imagine what it was truly like to experience.
Making it easier to understand what the World’s Fair was really like, the city’s parks department is offering free, monthly tours of the park, allowing visitors to hear the stories behind the Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion and many more landmarks.