World's Fair. Italian Pavilion at night, detail of Marconi monument
In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, a group of New York City businessmen decided to create an international exposition to lift the city and the country out of depression. On April 30, 1939, a very hot Sunday, the fair had its grand opening, with 206,000 people in attendance. The April 30 date coincided with the 150th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration, in Lower Manhattan, as the first President of the United States. Although many of the pavilions and other facilities were not quite ready for this opening, it was put on with pomp and great celebration.