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Big Celebrations Planned For World's Fair Anniversaries In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Preparations have gotten under way for a months-long celebration, commemorating the anniversaries of two world's fairs in Queens.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964-1965 World's Fair, and the 75th anniversary of the 1939-1940 World's Fair, both of which were held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Six months' worth of events are planned to commemorate the fairs.

"We're going to have events, and cultural events, and concerts, and fireworks, in order to celebrate 50 years and 75 years from the World's Fair," said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

A large part of the purpose of the commemorative celebrations is to showcase Queens, Katz said.

"The World's Fair was a great tribute not only to the diversity of the world, but also the diversity of the borough of Queens. Folks should come here this summer and partake in the celebration that we have and all the different of cultural events," she said. "We want to brand the borough of Queens, and make sure that folks understand that if they come to the city of New York and they haven't seen Queens, they have not really been to the city of New York."

Among the planned events is a re-creation of Andy Warhol's "13 Most Wanted Men" mural in the park, according to a New York Daily news report. The mural was painted for the New York State Pavilion and featured mug shots of criminals taken from a 1962 NYPD booklet.

But the artwork was painted over with silver paint before the World's Fair began.

Also planned for the anniversary is a three-hour reopening of the Tent of Tomorrow at the New York State Pavilion, which has been shuttered for more than 35 years.

The public may come to the space-age structure in Queens between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, to view and take photos of the interior of the Tent of Tomorrow.

The viewing area will allow visitors to photograph themselves with the pavilion's classic roof and towers as a backdrop. Hardhats are required and will be passed out.

The 1939 World's Fair covered 1,216 acres from the park. Its theme was "the world of tomorrow," and fluorescent lighting, air condition and color photographs were among the technologies that were showcased.

The 1964 World's Fair showcased the Space Age, computer technology and American industry – among other achievements and technologies. It was also known for an assortment of animatronic exhibits commissioned by Walt Disney.

The Unisphere and the shuttered New York State Pavilion remain from the 1964 World's Fair. The New York Hall of Science is also based in a structure from the 1964 World's Fair, while the Queens Museum of Art is in the former New York City Pavilion from the 1939 World's Fair.

The iconic Parachute Jump on Coney Island is also a remnant of the 1939 World's Fair, beginning its life in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park as the Life Savers Parachute Jump.

A world's fair was also held in New York City in 1853 and 1854, in the New York Crystal Palace in what is now Bryant Park.

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