Amusement Zone Map

"A" is for Amusement and, in the alphabetical listing of the seven zones of the Fair, it stands first; and amusement comes first in the interests of many of the millions of Fair visitors. Historically, fairs have always been associated with festivals and celebrations. The Amusement Zone covers 280 acres - an area larger than that of the entire Paris International Exposition of 1937. Here the Fair presents streamlined festivity fo the "World of Today" and for the "World of Tommorrow." (from the official Guide Book)

Shot Putter by Raoul Josset
photo MO62 - from the collection taken by John Ott
courtesy of his grandson Michael Ott

The Aquacade can faintly be seen behind the statue "Shot Putter by Raoul Josset.

Pre-opening shot of the Amusement area taken from the parachute Jump ... at altitude! Fountain Lake at the left, Washington Hall at the extreme left beneath the Trylon & Perisphere. The Large tent and small footbridge over the pond are part of the NTG Sun Worshipers.

It cost 40¢ to ride the 25-story Parachute Jump, 40¢ to view and photograph the naked, or nearly naked, young women in their outdoor playland, 25¢ additional to view the four-unit dance show in the tent, including "a fan dance to end all fan dances".

Construction of the Amusement Zone at the 1939 New York World's Fair
The Amusement Zone -Photo D59 - from the private collection of
Dr. William R. Hanson

Trylon Tidbits

Trylon Tidbits for the Amusement Zone

Small pieces of news and interesting informaton compiled by David J. Cope.

Amusement Zone ↓
  • George M. Smith, the man in charge of the Amusement Zone concessions, began his World's Fair career as a chair pusher at Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition in 1901. He stood within twenty feet of President William McKinley when Leon Czolgosz shot the president.
  • Although the fair's publicity department seemed to coin words for everything possible, it failed to come up with a single entry for the Amusement Zone.
  • News reporters found it difficult to understand the role of the Amusement Zone. "The smell of popcorn and hamburgers mixed with wiffs from Frank Buck's fauna display gave the place a Coney Island air." "Culture seems to be having a struggle with Entertainment at the fair. The tendency among visitors is to draw the line along World's Fair Boulevard, which geographically separates the (the Amusement zone from the exhibit area)." And seemingly ignoring the constant controversy over the "nude shows," "It is a credit to the management that none of the obscene exhibits in the Chicago Midway were permitted. It was all good and wholesome fun reflecting the changed public sentiment."
  • Illegal enterprisers seemed drawn to the Amusement Zone. It was reported that Al Capone's brother, Ralph, was a heavy investor in a number of the concessions. John Dillinger Sr. tried to open a crime museum concession highlighting his personal effects but was denied a contract.
  • Malcolm Johnson complained: "In the hands of the barkers, the microphone becomes the devil's own instrument. Courtesy, evidently, is checked at the exhibit area and many of the barkers and attendants, hard-boiled fellows, don't seem to know the meaning of the world."
Artist's Village ↓
  • Joseph Baumgarten insisted his concession of sixty artists would close without a reduction of its $5,000 rental fee as none were doing well. Many took on jobs as waiters and bus boys to enable them to live. Thomas Van Buren, great-great grandson of President Martin Van Buren earned exactly forty-eight cents one week and "left for his home in Texas, weeping."