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The Administration Building was the first to open on the fairgrounds. The staff moved in, August 1937 and began the task of preparing for a World's Fair.

World's Fair Administration Building
World's Fair Administration Building - photo 007
by Arie van Dort

Administration Building and the Trylon & Perisphere
Photo by William Keys Smith
from the Susan S. Waite collection

Administration Building Restaurant
The Administration Building Restaurant is where many receptions were held after the closing of Perylon Hall.  Photo 006 by Arie van Dort

The 1940 New York World's Fair Administration Building
The 1940 New York World's Fair Administration Building - Courtesy World's Fair Historical Society - wf-003r
Administration building front steps
The years 1789 and 1939 were engraved on either side of the entry steps. They represented the 150 years since George Washington's inauguration as first president of the United States.

Trylon Tidbits
  • The 115,000 square foot, totally air conditioned Administration Building, was the first structure to be completed on the fairgrounds. Workers finished the $900,000 office space in 124 working days.
  • A commuter who passed the fairgrounds daily complained to the New York Times editors about the cost of the Administration Building: "If it is an example of how money is going to be spent on other enterprises at the fair, it would be well to know in advance."
  • Albert Stewart designed the "vision of the future" which dominated the building's fa├žade. With the fair's penchant for word-creation, the new sculpture received the name "Mithrana" – an amalgamation of the ancient Persian Goddess of Sun and light "Mithra" and the Roman goddess of the hunt "Diana."

    Stewart explained the design: "We see the 'Spirit of the Fair' rising above New York and unveiling The World of Tomorrow." The Post's art critic described it as "That full-bosomed, plump-limbed, gold-plated lass."
  • The glass telephones on Grover Whalen's desk were tinged the proper shade of blue to match his ash trays.
  • Forty-eight telephone operators manned the Fair's switchboards, directing calls to the 1,200 phones scattered over the fairgrounds. On the week preceding the Fair's April 30 opening, the operators handled 10,089 calls an hour.

    When ovens in the employees' cafeteria ignited a fire in the walls between the kitchen and the telephone terminal, fifteen loyal operators remained at their switchboards while the Fair's fire department battled the blaze.
  • Visitors required a special photo pass to cross over the bridge from the fairgrounds to the Administration Building's location. However, when an attendant yelled, "Hey! You can't get in here without a pass!" a stray cat dashed between his legs, over the span and into the forbidden zone.
  • The Fair administration originally took up offices in the Empire State Building. The completion of the on-grounds facility required twenty-five moving vans to transport 110 loads of office furniture, equipment and paper work to Flushing Meadows.
  • Katherine Brougher Gray served as the building's office manager, overseeing nearly 400 employees. Miss Gray, a graduate student at Columbia University, walked into the Fair's Empire State Building and impulsively requested a job. After a quick interview, she became the administrative office manager for the length of the fair.
  • Employees at the Administration Building enjoyed a 536-seat cafeteria located beneath the executive offices.
Administration Building 'Mithrana' by Albert Stewart
On the front of the Administration Building was the relief created by Albert Stewart entitled 'Mithrana.' The artist's intent was to depict the spirit of the Fair unveiling the future.

Mirhrana from the private collection of Dr. William R. Hanson.
Photo D43 Mirhrana from the private
collection of Dr. William R. Hanson.