No postcard or photographic image currently in my collection for this location.*


The Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whose land is the seedbed of many civilizations and religions, is represented by one of the most striking buildings at the Fair.  It is a multi-peaked-and-domed structure covered with gold mosaic and sparkling colored glass.  The undulating roof surfaces swoop to the ground, forming Arabic arches:  They shade the stained-glass windows that make up two sides of the building and walls with bas-reliefs that make up the other sides.  Inside the building diverse exhibits - including a scroll from the Dead Sea area - reflect some of the cultures that rose in this region of ancient Palestine.  A theater provides entertainment by Arab dancers and a military band.
  

Admission: adults 50 cents. children free.


Highlights

Christ and Mohammed. In stained glass (best seen from inside the pavilion), the story of Christ's agony and death is told in the traditional Fourteen Stations of the Cross, rendered in unusual abstract forms created by Spanish painter Antonio Saura. On the other walls (seen only from outside the pavilion) are bas-relief representations of the Roman-built city of Jerash; the ancient city of Petra, which was carved from rock in ancient times and populated by robber bands that preyed on caravans; and the Dome of the Rock of Jerusalem, where, according to Muslim tradition, Mohammed prayed before ascending to heaven.

Twenty Hundred Years. One of the Dead Sea Scrolls, written by the ascetic Essene about the time of Christ, is shown in an exhibit area together with a replica of the cave in which it was discovered.  Also on display are a scale model of the Dome of the Rock, statues of the Three Kings, a Christian crèche, and many articles from antiquity, including a column from Jerash to be presented to the City of New York for permanent display in the Flushing Meadow park.

Dancers and a Movie.  A troupe of Arab dancers and a military band of pipers put on frequent performances in the 245-seat theater.  At other times a half-hour color movie of modern Jordan is shown.

Jewelry and Barbecues.  Large color transparencies and slide viewers show Jordan's expanding economy and increasing numbers of schools, hospitals, roads, and other facilities.  A bazaar sells Hebron glass, olive-wood carvings, mother-of-pearl work and Bedouin jewelry.  A restaurant and snack bar serve such Jordanian specialties as hummas (an appetizer of mashed chickpeas mixed with spices and oil, eaten cold), shawarmah (spiced and barbecued lamb), Arab and Turkish pastries, coffee and wine.**


The Jordan pavilion, with it's unusual design, attracted many who were interested in the historical and religious relics on display there.  

It was not without controversy, however, as a mural at the pavilion's exit caused a commotion with the nearby Israeal pavilion. The mural, which depicted a refugee and her child, was accompanied by a poem by an unknown author.  The poem, which began with the words "Before you go, have you a minute more to spare to hear a word on Palestine and perhaps to help us right a wrong?", started a rather public disagreement between the American-Israel pavilion and the Jordan pavlion which plagued both for the duration of the Fair.

The American-Israel pavilion accused the Jordan pavilion of turning the Fair into a "battleground" of sorts, using their pavilion to spread anti-Isreal propoganda.  A legal battle ensued, with the City Council finally issuing a verdict that the offensive mural was to be removed... but without a set timeline to do so.  The mural remained up until the closure of the Fair in late 1965.


The pavilion, itself, was never designated as a permanent addition to the park, so it was dismantled at the close of the Fair.  The antiquities and religious relics which were displayed within the pavilion were returned and either displayed or stored for their protection.

During the Fair, the "Whispering Column of Jerash" stood proudly on a clear piece of land next to the Jordan pavilion. Intended to be a permanent addition to the park at the end of the Fair, it would remain on-site after the close of the 1965 season.  It is the second-oldest outdoor antiquity in New York... second only to Cleopatra's Needle in Central Park.


IDuring one of my visits to the site of the New York World's Fair 1964/1965, I visited the "Whispering Column of Jerash", which was installed there as part of the Jordan pavilion.  It currently stands on the exact spot it was originally installed and is the second-oldest outdoor antiquity in New York.

After taking the 7 train from Manhattan to Queens, I strolled through the park.   It was a beautiful day and the park was alive with activity.  There were tons of people using the soccer and volleyball fields or just taking a leisurely stroll through the same streets which carried many thousands of visitors to the World's Fair.

I pulled out my official guide to the Fair and began navigating to the site of the Jordan pavilion.

The site of the pavilion is now a beautiful, shady place to rest and reflect.  Park benches nearby provide the perfect spot to sit down and read.  The Whispering Column of Jerash sits back from the path and almost blends in with the surrounding trees... so it's easy to see why some park visitors may not even know this historical antiquity exists here.

An engraved marker lies beside the path so you may learn about the column without walking up to it...

"This column was presented to the New York World's Fair and the City of New York by His Majesty King Hussein of the Hashamite Kingdom of Jordan on the occasion of Jordan's participation in the Fair.  The column was received by the honorable Robert Moses, President, New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation.  This is one of many columns in a temple erected by the Romans in 120 AD that stood in the Roman city of Jerash, Jordan.  The columns are known as The Whispering Columns of Jerash."

I decided to get up close and personal with the column, not just to appreciate its historical value and observe the amazing detail in its cornice, but also to read the sign placed next to it by the New York Parks Department.

During the Fair, the Whispering Column of Jerash stood sentinel in a clear space next to the Jordan pavilion.  It is still standing on that same spot today... though now it is surrounded by bushes and trees.

As I had previously seen two different ways to spell Jarash/Jerash, I pulled out my phone and looked up which was actually correct.  The official guide refers to the city of "Jarash", while the signage and markers in the park today refer to "Jerash".  It appears that the spelling of the ancient Roman city is actually Jerash... not to be confused with Jerash, which is a Palenstinian village in Jerusalem.

The official guide also had a few other spelling issues... like "Moslim", "Homas", and "Chick Peas".  I ended up correcting them for this page.

The small sign next to the column is a history lesson about the column. "This delicate column, with its modified Corinthian capital, was originally erected in 120 AD by Romans int he ancient Jordanian city of Jerash.  it was part of the Temple of Artemis, named for the "principle deity" of the city, then known as Gerasa."

It goes on to mention how the "remarkable gift of the Column of Jerash is a symbol of Jordan's rich and diverse history and its impact on world culture.  It is also one of the few true antiquities displayed in New York City's parks."

After spending some time with the Whisphering Column of Jerash and enjoying the park, it was time for me to head back out.  I enjoyed my visit to this amazing relic of the New York World's Fair... and hope you have, too!

The Whispering Column of Jerash is a publicly-available antiquity and requires little maintenance.  The surrounding area tends to be littered with empty water bottles and picnic trash... so if you ever plan to visit, it would be nice if you brought a small plastic bag with you and volunteered to tidy up the area a bit.  Nearby trash cans would be an easy place for you to deposit the trash you have collected.

As this relic of the World's Fair is currently maintained by the New York City Parks Department and is well preserved, no assistance is currently required. You can, however, let the New York City Parks Department know how much you appreciate the work they are doing to keep this World's Fair relic in great shape.  You may also send a note of encouragement to the President of the Borough of Queens via their website.

Giving Thanks.

The following individuals contributed towards making it possible for me to visit and document this remnant of the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair.  I'd like to take a moment to personally thank them for helping make my dream of personally visiting the remaining pavilions of the World's Fair come true.

John DePalma
Nicole Desmond
Joseph Desmond
Susan Tackett


This page is hereby dedicated to them.

*Pavilion Image - Do you have a postcard or a clean scan of a slide of the exterior of this Pavilion?  Contact me!
**Official Guidebook Information
-
Official Guide New York World's Fair 1964/1965 (c.1964 Time Inc.).
**Corrected based on currently-accepted spellings of "Jerash", "Muslim", "hummas", "shawarma", and "chickpeas".


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