Tucked away among the flotsam and jetsam I have saved over the years is a pin-back button from the 1939 NY Worlds Fair stating boldly: I have seen the future.
Given to me as a child by my mother, the blue and white button, a souvenir from General Motors popular “America of 1960” Futurama exhibit is rusted over now, dented, the type worn, an ironic symbol of our own tarnished future, a future that was to be so new and shiny it would never rust.
Step Right up to World Of Tomorrow
Nothing embodied the buoyant optimism and gleeful mass consumerism of the American Dream more than the 1939/40 NY World’s Fair.
Rising out of the swampland in Flushing Meadow Queens was a luminous statement of American abundance.
It was, as Life Magazine put it: “A boast by America about America for Americans”
Dedicated to both the blessings of democracy and the wonders of science, it’s theme, The World of Tomorrow confidently celebrated technology and progress transporting the dazzled, Depression-weary fair visitor into the exciting possibilities of the distant future a world dominated by leisure and economic prosperity that was within everybody’s reach for all who believed.
Fairy Tales Can Come True They Can Happen To You
That wondrous World of Tomorrow, bursting with brightness and abundance, glowing with promise and hope, a spectacle of light and color so dazzling, it would saturate my own parents Kodachrome dreams of a better world that had not faded over time. This real life land of Oz became indelibly etched in memories of those who attended and in the captive imagination of those, like me, who didn’t.
My parents enthusiasm for the Fair-inspired future was infectious and like any good fairy tale, I loved hearing about it again and again. That optimistic spirit, the feeling that there was no limit to progress would be the guiding spirit of my childhood.
Copyright (©) 2012 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved
- Suburban Swan Song (envisioningtheamericandream.wordpress.com)