On April 30, 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the New York World's Fair open. Moments later a flood of eager humanity surged onto the one-and-a-quarter thousand acre former municipal dump in Flushing Meadow, Queens, now home to what the New York Herald Tribune termed “the mightiest exposition ever conceived and built by man.” While Europe shivered on the brink of a war, the United States focused its attention on the distinctive silhouette of a seven hundred foot spire and a globe two hundred feet wide: the “Trilon” and the “Perisphere,” centerpieces and emblems of the New York World's Fair. The fair stretched around their base in a teeming sprawl of concrete and electric lights. Its precincts embraced all manner of amusements, including a vast funfair with such thematic attractions as a Cuban village, an African jungle, and a Merrie England area. While most of the visitors seemed intent on enjoying themselves, the fair was intended by its organizers to serve a serious educative purpose. Its theme was “building the world of tomorrow,” with two-thirds of the fair ground given over to exhibitions by corporations, U.S. federal agencies, and foreign governments. The fair's corporate exhibitors vied with each other for the most spectacular vision of what this world might be. General Motors offered the “Futurama” exhibit designed by Norman Bel Geddes, in which 28,000 visitors a day traveled on a conveyor belt ride through a projection of the American landscape forward twenty-five years, to a Utopia liberated by the automobile. In a similar vein, inside the Perisphere visitors could view a diorama of a future metropolis, “Democracity.” But popular acclaim lay elsewhere.