Weary fairgoers often complained of a new malady – fair feet.
NO WAY OUT OF IT
As we stand in the perisphere's shadow, And we gaze upon wonders galore We marvel at mere men's performance And languidly query, "What more?" But in all of the pomp and resplendence There's one detail yet incomplete; One must tread through the World of Tomorrow On the hot World of Yesterday's feet.
Damon Runyon observed: "We always approach things like fairs and expositions with secret fear and loathing because we figure the best we are going to get out of them is a couple of sore feet."
Experienced fairgoers worried from the start about navigating the extensive "World of Tomorrow." Its sheer size, larger than any previous exposition, drew concern about the wear and tear on the visitors' feet. Scientists estimated the stress on the bones and ligaments of the foot equated to 250 tons for each mile walked. And the Flushing Meadows extravaganza required many miles of walking to observe all of its wonders. One weary fellow pointed to Jo Davidson's statue of Walt Whitman and observed: "That should be the theme of the fair, a fellow walking with sore feet."
The fair's medical staff treated an average of 200 patients daily complaining of foot ailments. The tired-feet phenomenon soon acquired a bevy of monikers: Fair Feet, Barking Bow-Wows, Agonizing Arches, and Trylon Tootsies. And Fair employees learned to spot veteran visitors by the axiom "By their shoes ye shall know them."
Harry L. Goldwag, "World's Fair Director of Emergency Podiatry," and the Podiatry Society of the State of New York issued distinct warnings against pumps, strap shoes, patent leathers, and "those flimsy models minus heels and toes." They also cracked down on new shoes, tight socks or no socks.