On 108th Street in Corona, Queens just a few blocks from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, home of two World’s Fairs, stands a brick walkup apartment with a curious historical reference. In concrete at the top of the building facade is a tribute to the 1939-40 World’s Fair with an abstract replica of the Tryon and Perisphere. The Perisphere has the year 1939 etched into it. These two structures were the symbols of the 1939-40 fair, viewable all the way from midtown Manhattan.
A post about this house, which is located at 55-22 108th Street, in October on The New York World’s Fair Facebook group by Carol Drew-Holland Peoples, of the Corona East Elmhurst Preservation Society elicited a flurry of comments from the very active online community dedicated to everything World’s Fair. A member who had lived nearby commented that her parents had told her it was constructed in 1939 and the builder had chosen to honor the World’s Fair with the design on top.
According to city documents, the building was built in 1920 (although the dates can often be somewhat approximate). There is a building next door that is listed as built in 1931, but it is unlikely the building date is off by two decades. Based on the architectural style and date of construction listed in the city’s database of 55-22 and 55-20 next door, we can pretty safely assume they were built at the same time. Both have the same brickwork and geometric ornamental brickwork at the top of the buildings.
It seems entirely possible that in 1939, with the arrival of the World’s Fair just nearby, the Tryon and Perisphere were added in excitement. Perhaps there was once another rectangular detail (with the diamonds inside) on the front facade, and it was taken out and swapped with the Perisphere. The brick does look a little more uniform than the ones on the left side, which seem older, but this is just conjecture. Do you have more details about this house? Send us a message!
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