COLUMN OF JERASH, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

It might be surprising to know that most of the world’s countries did not have exhibits at the ’64-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows. Not because of any particular animus or grudge against the United States or New York City…it was just that there had already been a previous World’s Fair in Seattle in 1962, and most countries devoted their resources to that Fair. Nevertheless, 36 countries were represented, among them Jordan, whose young King Hussein presented this 30-foot, approximately 30-ton high marble column, supposedly built by the Romans during their occupation of the Holy Land in 120 A.D. in the city of Jerash. Although the column was originally thought to have been part of the temple of Artemis in that city, recent research indicates that temple is not the source of the column; nevertheless, it’s believed to be from the same time period.

John Dereszewski in Comments:

Actually the reason for the limited degree of international involvement in the 64-65 World’s Fair had to do with a number of disputes involving Robert Moses, who autocratically directed the fair’s operation, and the international group that sponsored exhibitions of this nature. Things got so bad that the international group urged foreign nations NOT to participate in this event. This story is very well documented in Robert Caro’s biography of Moses.

Incidentally, the Jordan pavilion was controversial since it included a mural depicting the plight of the Palestinian refugees that was considered to be anti-Israel. Frankly, I thought the mural was more anti-British than anything else.

According to the NYC Bureau of Parks, the Jordanian pavilion was a splendid “multi-peaked-and domed structure with an undulating roof, and surfaced in gold mosaic and shimmering blue glass.” The column is also marked by a tablet on the park path. The Column is  likely the second-oldest man-made object in a New York City park (after the Egyptian obelisk known as “Cleopatra’s Needle” in Central Park, which is fully 3500 years old).

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

10/6/17


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6 Responses to COLUMN OF JERASH, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

  1. Edward Findlay says:

    “temple” is a relative term, it actually did come from the temple complex- just not the temple itself.

    The procession leading up to the temple is lined with columns exactly like that one, which is three segments instead of five. This is where the column likely came from. So it did come from the temple, just not the actual temple building itself. Jordan was a little sneaky there with the wording, but they weren’t exactly wrong!

  2. mike in fla via bklyn says:

    Nice pic with sphere in the background.

  3. Mitch45 says:

    I can tell you that two countries did not participate for reasons of animus and politics.

    1) Indonesia did not participate because of the rising tensions between the US and Indonesia over the Vietnam War.

    2) Israel did not participate because Robert Moses, who was the Fair Chairman, did not want them to.

  4. John Dereszewski says:

    Actually the reason for the limited degree of international involvement in the 64-65 World’s Fair had to do with a number of disputes involving Robert Moses, who autocratically directed the fair’s operation, and the international group that sponsored exhibitions of this nature. Things got so bad that the international group urged foreign nations NOT to participate in this event. This story is very well documented in Robert Caro’s biography of Moses.

    Incidentally, the Jordan pavilion was controversial since it included a mural depicting the plight of the Palestinian refugees that was considered to be anti-Israel. Frankly, I thought the mural was more anti-British than anything else.

  5. Robert Craig says:

    Another country which did not participate in the 64-65 World’s Fair was Canada. I guess we were saving our energy for a much better World’s Fair–Expo ’67 in Montreal, Canada!

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