9. An Underground Luxury Home/Bomb Shelter May Still Be Beneath Flushing Meadows
A view from inside an underground home in Colorado similar to Jay Swayze’s exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair (from the exhibit’s souvenir brochure).
At the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, buried between the Hall of Science and the Port Authority Heliport, was a underground luxury home and bomb shelter. Texan developer Jay Swayze came up with the concept for his luxury bomb shelter as a response to the Cuban Missile Crisis and mounting Cold War anxieties in America. He wished to update the bland, cramped quarters of many existing bomb shelters in favor of more livable if albeit more extravagant accommodations.
The subterranean home had total of 500,000 to a million visitors according to Swayze and Fair organizers. Visitors were required to descend a short staircase in order to access the 5,600 square feet of nuke-proof luxury living space, which included three bedrooms and a 20-inch thick earth quake resistant steel shell. There was a Steinway piano in the living room, an air system, adjustable lighting to simulate time of day and season and a fake garden.
The underground home was supposedly demolished after the World’s Fair had closed down but many people, such as historian Dr. Lori Walters, believe that part of the exhibit remains and in 2014, she applied for permits in 2014 from the Parks Department to locate the structure using ground-penetrating radar. No news has come since…