Unisphere

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The Unisphere in August 2010.

The Unisphere is a 140-foot-tall (43 m) stainless steel globe in Queens, New York City. It is in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It was designed by landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke. It is a symbol of the borough of Queens. The globe weighs 700,000 pounds (320,000 kg) and is the world's largest. There are fountains and a reflecting pool around the Unisphere.

The Unisphere was built for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair.[1] The Unisphere is designed to show countries around the world depending on each other. It stayed at the park after the World's Fair. The Unisphere was cleaned from 1993 to 1994.

History[change | change source]

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park used to be a landfill in Queens. The landfill was turned into the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair. After the fair, it was used as a park.[2][3] The 1964 New York World's Fair also happened at Flushing Meadows.[4] Gilmore David Clarke and Michael Rapuano designed the park for 1964 Fair.[5][6]

Robert Moses ran the 1964 World's Fair. He announced the Unisphere in February 1961.[7] At first, Clarke designed the Unisphere as an aluminum structure with metal continents and islands.[6][8] Designers at Peter Muller-Munk Associates added structural steel.[9][10] The last design was a lot like the first. The last design had fountains surrounding the Unisphere.[6]

The Unisphere was built by the American Bridge Company. The American Bridge Company was part of another company called US Steel.[6][8] The Unisphere was built in 110 days.[11] The last piece of land was put on the Unishphere on August 13, 1963.[12] At night, the Unisphere was lit up to show sunrise moving across the globe. There were lights showing the capitals of countries.[13]

In 1966, US Steel gave $100,000 so the Unisphere could stay at the park.[14] In 1967, the park reopened.[15] The Unisphere became dirty afterward. People wrote graffiti in the pools.[13]

In 1989, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said it would clean the Unisphere. From 1993 to 1994, the Unisphere was fixed and cleaned. The fountains were also turned back on.[16][17][18] It became an official city landmark in May 1995.[19][20] The Unisphere's fountain was cleaned again in 2010.[21][22][20]

Design[change | change source]

The Unisphere during the 1964–1965 World's Fair
Close-up of Africa

The Unisphere is the world's largest globe. It is 120 feet (37 m) wide and 140 feet (43 m) tall.[13] The globe weighs 700,000 pounds (320,000 kg). Its base weighs 200,000 pounds (90,718 kg).[13][18] The Unisphere is made of stainless steel. The continents and islands on the Unisphere were made by the Rigidized Metals Corporation.[23] The Unisphere is tilted 23.5 degrees.[13]

There are three rings around the Unisphere. They show the orbits of Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn, and the Telstar satellite around the Earth.[13][24] There were supposed to be more rings, but the designers could not do this.[24] The rings are held up with aircraft cable.[13] The Unisphere's continents and islands are made of many layers of metal sheets. The Unisphere has many latitude and longitude bars of different sizes. This makes the structure stable.[13]

There is a reflecting pool around the Unisphere. It measures 310 feet (94 m) across. There are 48 fountains in the pool. These fountains are supposed to make the Unisphere look like it is floating in space. There are also plaques around the pool.[13]

The Unisphere has a concrete foundation.[13][8] The ground under the Unisphere used to be a marsh. There are 528 wooden rods under the Unisphere.[25]

References[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. "Unisphere: Built by US Steel as the symbol of the 1964-5 New York World's Fair" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, Place Matters, 5 February 2010
  2. "Ready to Turn Fair Into Park; Moses Tells Mayor His Plans Are Set" (PDF). The Sun (New York). Fultonhistory.com. August 15, 1940. p. 14. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  3. "Flushing Meadow" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. Fultonhistory.com. July 13, 1949. p. 4. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  4. La Guardia International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Airport Access Program, Automated Guideway Transit System (NY, NJ): Environmental Impact Statement. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, New York State Department of Transportation. June 1994. p. 1.11.
  5. "Flushing Meadows-Corona Park: Historic Preservation Studio". Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. May 3, 2015. p. 16. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Landmarks Preservation Commission 1995, p. 3.
  7. "A 120-Foot Steel 'Unisphere' Will Be Symbol of the '64 Fair". The New York Times. February 15, 1961. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Schmertz, Mildred F. (July 1964). "Architecture at the New York World's Fair" (PDF). Architectural Record. 136: 150.
  9. Kracklauer, Beth (November 19, 2015). "Mass-Market Masterpieces: The Designs of Peter Muller-Munk". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  10. Gopnik, Blake (July 9, 2015). "Carnegie Museum to Open a Survey of the Designer Peter Muller-Munk". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  11. "Unisphere, 1960 - Photos - New York: The 1960s". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  12. "Section Added to Unisphere". The New York Times. August 13, 1963. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 Landmarks Preservation Commission 1995, p. 4.
  14. "U.S. Steel Donates A Fund to Maintain Unisphere at Fair". The New York Times. March 21, 1966. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  15. Schumach, Murray (June 4, 1967). "Moses Gives City Fair Site as Park; Flushing Meadows in Queens Becomes the 2d Biggest Recreation Area Here". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  16. Huang, Vivian (June 1, 1994). "Let us spray for Unisphere". New York Daily News. p. 293. Retrieved November 4, 2019 – via newspapers.com open access publication – free to read.
  17. Landmarks Preservation Commission 1995, p. 5.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Muschamp, Herbert (September 2, 1994). "Summer's Last Hurrah: The Final Fling Before the Fall; Recircling the Globe". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  19. Avashti, Surabhi (May 15, 1995). "Unisphere nears landmark status". New York Daily News. p. 292. Retrieved November 4, 2019 – via newspapers.com open access publication – free to read.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Template:Cite enc-nyc2
  21. Hirshon, Nicholas (August 13, 2010). "Fountain's Return". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  22. Carlson, Jen (August 14, 2010). "Finally: Unisphere Fountain Restored!". Gothamist. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  23. Brake, Alan G. (February 26, 2014). "Focus on Fabrication> Rigidized Metals". The Architect's Newspaper. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Short, Daniel (2016). Unisphere: Symbol of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (1st ed.). Arethusa Press. ISBN 978-0-692-50867-1.
  25. American Wood Preservers Institute; American Wood-Preservers' Association (1965). Wood Preserving News. American Wood Preservers Institute. p. 16. Retrieved July 27, 2020.

Other references[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]