World's Fair - The Unisphere
Queens, New York
This is still the World's Largest World, designed as the centerpiece for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. Its diameter of 120 feet far exceeds that of its nearest rival, the 72-foot Daily Planet in Raleigh, North Carolina. Twelve stories tall, weighing 700,000 pounds, the Unisphere is somehow even more impressive now than it was 50 years ago. Perhaps that's because it's now surrounded by, well, nothing, rather than by the pavilions of prosperous nations and corporations.
It was built in just over five months, unveiled with the opening of the Fair on April 22, 1964, and made of stainless steel so it will never rust. World capitals on the Unisphere were once lit with little bulbs at night, but not any longer. The three rings encircling it represent the orbits of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (the first Russian), Astronaut John Glenn (the first American), and Telstar (the first active communications satellite). In the summer the Unisphere's reflecting pool is filled and its fountains are turned on; in the off-season its vast, flat expanse is a popular spot for skateboarders.