ZAPmedia Remembers the 1939 Close of the New York World's Fair

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The Start of World War II changes the fair's tenor and content.

The New York World's Fair gave people hope and inspiration. It allowed them to look past their struggles and into the world of the future. To this day that World's Fair remains a monument of those who dared to dream.

ZAPmedia, leading publisher of under reported historical fiction, today remembers the close of the New York World's Fair, which opened on May 1st, 1939 and closed a different fair on October 27, 1939. All of the optimism and joy that had built up as the end of the depression came into sight dissipated with the beginning of World War II. The recent historical novel 1939 - Into the Dark, by Dr. Paula Phelan, explores the events leading up to the changes experienced by the Fair.

The 1939 World's Fair:

  •     The "World of Tomorrow" was the theme of the 1939 World's Fair, originally intended to show the wonderful inventions and cultural accomplishments of the modern world. The title soon represented a much more ominous tone with the onset of World War II which began September 3rd, 1939 with Germany's attack on Poland.
  •     The Fair opened with 60 countries represented, however by its close, Germany had conquered Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, and divided Poland with Russia, while Russia had annexed Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
  •     At the close of the Fair, the Russian pavilion was bulldozed, others like the Polish and the Czech pavilions, took on a nationalistic aura.
  •     NBC used the Fair to inaugurate regularly scheduled television broadcasts in New York City; an estimated 1,000 people viewed the telecast from about 200 television sets scattered throughout the New York area.

World's Fair in 1939 - Into The Dark:

  •     1939 - Into the Dark takes place over a twelve-month period when America reached its creative zenith in art and culture with New York and its World's Fair as the focal point.
  •     Written by author Paula Phelan, the novel follows the lives of fictional and historical characters throughout the pivotal events of 1939.
  •     By using the columns of a theater critic and war correspondent, Phelan vividly shows the American art world at its zenith as it is eclipsed by the pending world war.

Supporting Quote:

  •     "The year 1939 was a unique time in our history as people felt both hope and fear as the Great Depression was ending and chaos was breaking out in Europe," said Dr. Paula Phelan. "The New York World's Fair gave people hope and inspiration. It allowed them to look past their struggles and into the world of the future. To this day that World's Fair remains a monument of those who dared to dream."

Excerpt from 1939:

  •      "She took a cab to the fairgrounds, wearing a fiery red dress that clung to her sculpted body. Her outfit stood out in dramatic contrast to the popular, loose-fitting pastel rayon dresses the other women wore. She arrived an hour after the official opening to avoid the crowds waiting at the turnstiles. She felt only slightly conspicuous being there unaccompanied. As far as she could tell, she might be the only woman at the World's Fair solo, which didn't bother her one iota.

For a moment Ernestine stood agape, awed by the sheer magnitude of the Fair, everything was scaled larger than life, all shiny and modern. Even hard-boiled Ernestine, the star of the stage, was taken in by the grandeur of this make-believe city. The newness appealed to her. She had always disliked anything old, anything with curlicues, dark woods, or fragility. She liked the cool slick lines of art deco and the 'get to it' attitude of today's modern furniture."

Supporting Resources:


About ZAPmedia
ZAPmedia is a boutique publisher of books, art and Web content located in New York City. Its primary goal is to identify and promote the works of new authors and artists that have exceptional and original talent, a vast wellspring of creative potential and are just beginning to find their voice and audience. ZAPmedia can be found on the World Wide Web at


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