Saturday, January 10, 1pm
New York City hosted the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens. To show off the city’s water system that tapped mountain springs as far as 100 miles away, the Cartographic Survey Force, a branch of the Works Progress Administration, constructed a 3-dimensional model of the system out of wood and plaster for @ $100,000 (about $1.5 million in today’s dollars).
Measuring 32 feet by 18 feet it never made it to the Fair and instead was put into storage; some said it because it was too big, but others have said it was to protect the City’s Water system from spies as the country was beginning to contemplate war. It was shown once in 1948 – at the city’s Golden Anniversary Exposition – and then forgotten. In 1991, DEP’s chief architect Michael Cetera discovered it sitting in the Jerome Avenue Pumping Station (built 1906) when he was charged with renovating the landmark building. The map was in rough shape after 40 years of neglect. In 2006, it was restored by McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Ohio and has been on display at the Queen’s Museum since 2008.
You can now see the map for yourself and hear about its story from NYC water educator Matt Malina.
This is a family friendly event. The Queens Museum also has a scale model of the entire city that is not to be missed. This event is free with a suggested $5 entrance fee to the museum.