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World's Fair Unisphere.

World's Fair: The Unisphere

Field review by the editors.

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 60 years ago. Perhaps that's because it's now surrounded by, well, nothing, rather than by the pavilions of prosperous nations and corporations.

Originally sketched by Gilmore Clarke on the back of an envelope, the Unisphere 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 would never rust. The stresses and strains on the metal -- the continents act like parachutes in the wind -- were so complex that they had to be calculated by an early electronic computer. 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.

Donald Trump, no fan of globalism, liked this one-world tribute so much that he later commissioned a smaller replica to stand in front of his Trump Tower in New York.

Also see: 1964-65 New York World's Fair

World's Fair: The Unisphere

Flushing Meadows Park

111th St., Queens, NY
Flushing Meadows Park. By subway: #7 train to 111th St. in Queens. Walk downhill on 111th St. (south) for four blocks.
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