Fair With Your Fare On The Menu In Flushing

By Stephen McGuire

At one local Burger King, "coming back to the fair" can be as easy as ordering fries and a Coke thanks to an architect who visited Flushing Meadows in the mid sixties.

"I rode a pony at the Fair," said Michael Just who designed the Main St. and Roosevelt Ave. fast food restaurant which is built around the theme of the 1964-65 World's Fair.

 

This Burger King serves up a piece of Queens -- and the World's Fair -- history every day along with the standard burger and fries.

What seems like just another Burger King on Main Street, Flushing, is really a World's Fair apart just behind its doors.

Just, Who then was one of millions who beat a path to Flushing's backyard, now heads up the Just Architecture Firm in Brooklyn. Just explained that he "wanted to get more of a neighborhood feel" at the Main St. location.

Upon entering through the front doors of the burger joint, customers are greeted by the flags of over 25 nations that hang from a custom designed mobile on the ceiling.

In addition, original banners, artifacts, posters and prints adorn the walls of this unique dining room.

Above the restroom, a 3-4 foot high Unisphere with spotlights that illuminate the sculpture was constructed by Just and his design team to serve as one of the focal points of this miniature museum.

Even small details like glass etched with the image of the Unisphere, as well as neon lights and table designs that imitate the shapes of the towers located next to the former New York State Pavilion, rekindle some of the Fair's charm.

"It's fabulous from a historical point of view," said David Oats, a noted World's Fair historian and author.

Oats concluded the World's Fair theme is not only appropriate to the restaurant's location but it stresses Flushing's current position as one of the country's most ethnically diverse places.

"In a world of cookie cutter fast food places," Oats said, "people should make an attempt to go here to catch a glimpse of the fair."

One diner, wishing to only be identified as John, said he liked the idea behind the restaurant's them as he chomped away at a Whopper on a recent Sunday afternoon inside the restaurant.

But despite the dining area's obvious charisma, some customers had not caught on.

"I didn't notice," said Szczesna who is originally from Poland but now makes her home in Glen Cove, Long Island. Jim, a Flushing resident who works at a Manhattan tattoo studio, also didn't notice the Fair theme until notified by a Tribune reporter.

The Main St. Burger King restaurant opened in October of last year with little fanfare and is one of many Just Architecture has planned to add some excitement to along with the dining experience.

On Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside, Just's firm recently completed a Burger King centered around a "Statue of Liberty" theme complete with a mini-model of New York Harbor's most famous lady.

Tribune Photos by Ira Cohen

Source: Queens Tribune
Source: October, 1999

These photographs and Queens Tribune Article courtesy of Richard Post

Unisphere replica Artifacts on display

 

Dining area

Etched glass panels depict Fair scenes

Etched glass panels depict Fair scenes

Artifacts, banners and Flags adorn the walls