The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair held over 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, for 80 nations (hosted by 37), 24 US states, and over 45 corporations to build exhibits or attractions at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, NY. The immense fair covered 646 acres (261 ha) on half the park, with numerous pools or fountains, and an amusement park with rides near the lake. However, the fair did not receive official sanctioning from the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). Hailing itself as a "universal and international" exposition, the fair's theme was "Peace Through Understanding", dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe". American companies dominated the exposition as exhibitors. The theme was symbolized by a 12-story-high, stainless-steel model of the earth called the Unisphere, built on the foundation of the Perisphere from the 1939 NYC fair. The fair ran for two six-month seasons, April 22 – October 18, 1964, and April 21 – October 17, 1965. Admission price for adults (13 and older) was $2 in 1964 (equivalent to $16.16 in 2018) but $2.50 (equivalent to $19.88 in 2018) in 1965, and $1 for children (2–12) both years (equivalent to $8.08 in 2018).
The fair is noted as a showcase of mid-20th-century American culture and technology. The nascent Space Age, with its vista of promise, was well represented. More than 51 million people attended the fair, though fewer than the hoped-for 70 million. It remains a touchstone for many American Baby Boomers, who visited the optimistic fair as children before the turbulent years of the Vietnam War, cultural changes, and increasing domestic violence associated with the Civil Rights Movement.
In many ways the fair symbolized a grand consumer show covering many products produced in America at the time for transportation, living, and consumer electronic needs in a way that would never be repeated at future world's fairs in North America. Many major American manufacturing companies from pen manufacturers, to chemical companies, to computers, to automobiles had a major presence. This fair gave many attendees their first interaction with computer equipment. Corporations demonstrated the use of mainframe computers, computer terminals with keyboards and CRT displays, teletype machines, punch cards, and telephone modems in an era when computer equipment was kept in back offices away from the public, decades before the Internet and home computers were at everyone's disposal.
The site, Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the borough of Queens, was previously Manhattan's Corona Ash Dumps featured prominently in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby as the Valley of Ashes. Prior to that, the site had been a natural wetland—literally wetland meadows that would flush the nearby runoff entering the adjacent bay. Flushing Meadows had been a Dutch settlement, named after the city of Vlissingen (whose English name is "Flushing").
Subsequently, the site was reclaimed for the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair, one of the largest world's fairs to be held in the United States, occupying nearly a square mile (2.6 km2) of land. The 1939 fair also occupied space that was filled in for the 1964/1965 exposition. Preceding these fairs was the 1853–54 New York's World's Fair, called the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, located in the New York Crystal Palace on what is now Bryant Park in the borough of Manhattan, New York City (All three of New York's world's fairs were the only international expositions to run for two years, rather than one).