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.
Trylon Tidbits for the Admin. Bldg.
Small pieces of news and interesting informaton compiled by David J. Cope.
Click here to show or hide content
- 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 façade. 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.