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Full text of "1964-65 New York World's Fair Groundbreaking and Dedication Booklets"

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APRIL 11, 1963 




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Remarks by Belgian and World's Fair officials 
at the Belgian Village groundbreaking cere- 
monies, New York World's Fair, Thursday, 
April 11, 1963. 

[Chief of Protocol]: Mr. Moses, distinguished guests, 
ladies and gentlemen. I am privileged to begin these 
ceremonies by presenting a man who is an expert on 
trade fairs and international fairs and has spent most of 
his time in the planning and development of expositions. 
I am happy to introduce to you my colleague, Mr. Allen 

MR. ALLEN BEACH [Director, International Ex- 
hibits] : Thank you Ambassador Patterson. Mr. De Rijdt, 
Mr. Vande-Velde and Mr. Moses. Governor Poletti, who 

is again abroad in behalf of the Fair, asked me to convey 
his congratulations to Mr. De Rijdt and Mr. Vande-Velde 
and all those who worked to bring the Belgian Village to 
reality. I would like to add that you, Mr. De Rijdt, and 
your associates, have come a long way over a rather 
bumpy road since the first day we met in New York early 
in 1961 to discuss a Belgian Village at the Fair. 

I am sure Mr. Gates Davison of our International Divi- 
sion staff, who has worked most closely with you, will 
agree when I say that if bulldog tenacity is a virtue, 
you, Mr. De Rijdt, are a very virtuous man. We both 
admire you for your persistence and faith in the face of 
many problems and for your desire to present your gay 
Belgian Village to millions of visitors. Your determina- 
tion is evident today, as construction starts on this 164,- 
000 sq. ft. site. 

We are all delighted that this village will be in our 
midst; I am especially delighted because I witnessed the 

Cover: Artist's interpretation of section of Belgian Village super- 
imposed on a detail of Architect Alfons De Rijdt's blueprint. 

Officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Belgian Village: (left to right) 
Robert Moses, Fair president; Gates Davison, of the Fair's International staff; 
Gerard Vande-Velde, associate pavilion designer and Alfons De Rijdt, designer. 


11963 New York World's Foir 1964-1965 Corporation 


tremendous success of the "Belgique Joyeuse" designed 
by Mr. De Rijdt for the Brussels World's Fair of 1958 
when I was deputy director of the U. S. Building and 
Exhibits. I recall many a happy hour spent in the "Bel- 
gique Joyeuse," enjoying food and drink, colorful shops, 
dancers and music. "Belgique Joyeuse" was a gathering 
place for those who wished to fall completely into the 
spell of the gayety and fun of old-time Belgium. Next year 
on this site we will see an even greater Belgian Village, 
created by the original designer, Alfons De Rijdt and his 
associate Mr. Gerard Vande-Velde. Be assured that I will 
be among the thousands present on opening day to drink 
a glass of Belgian beer and eat a bag of pommes frites. 

Beach. May I add that Mr. De Rijdt also built the Belgian 
Village which was a prime attraction at the Chicago 
World's Fair in 1933. His building at the Brussels' Fair 
in 1958, by all accounts, was the gayest and most popular 
of that remarkable exposition. The Belgian Village he 
has planned for our New York World's Fair in 1964- 
1965, will be, I am told, one of the largest and most 
beautiful of our international presentations, with no less 
than 120 dwellings, including a church and a town hall. 

The New York World's Fair is delighted that Mr. 
De Rijdt, Mr. Vande-Velde and others have brought their 
talents to this Fair. I have the great privilege of present- 
ing to you, Mr. Alfons De Rijdt, president of the Bel- 
gian Village. 

MR. ALFONS DE RIJDT: Mr. Moses, Excellencies, 
ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you — all of you 
— American and Belgian, for making this occasion pos- 
sible. Without the outstanding cooperation of the Fair 
authorities our village would still be a dream, and with- 
out the help of the Belgian authorities it would be an 
empty dream. We shall create a miniature Belgium in 
Flushing Meadow Park. Visitors will see buildings they 
have seen in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Liege, Mons, 
Bastogne and other cities. We hope our friends will like 
us more through visiting the Belgian Village, and we 
hope those who don't know Belgium will come to visit 
her. We will offer fun, music, entertainment and fine 
foods, and you will see the work of Belgium's finest 
artisans. We will devote part of the village to Belgian 
industry — for our small country is an industrial giant. 
We will show you all the best that we have. We know 
you will like it. Thank you. 



I Blueprint detail of Belgian Village, Alfons De Rijdt, architect. 


much, Mr. De Rijdt. The final speaker, ladies and gentle- 
men, is the man under whose watchful guidance thou- 
sands of men will continue to work for some time to 
complete this greatest of all fairs. His task requires in- 
finite knowledge, which he has, with a superb ability to 
get things done. I have the privilege of presenting to you 
the chief executive of the World's Fair, 1964-1965, the 
Honorable Robert Moses. 

ROBERT MOSES: Ambassador Patterson, Mr. 
De Rijdt, and friends. I little thought, back in 1939 and 
1940, that I would be back here again with my former 
associates at another World's Fair. One reason we are so 
confident of getting the Fair finished on schedule is that 
these same people who worked for the earlier fair, 
through the years 1937 and 1938 — and know all about 
the grounds and topography, what's below the surface 
and above it — are with us again to carry on the program. 

I like this Belgian Village because, in addition to rep- 
resenting the products of the country and its culture, it 
will also provide a good deal of play and amusement 
which we need in the Fair. It's always a happy thing to 
be dealing with professionals who know the problems 
and the time necessary to solve them. In this case, we are 
dealing with real experts. 

Alfons De Rijdt thanks Robert Moses, Fair president, for a souvenir medal of the Fair. In turn, ^ 
he presents Mr. Moses with a token of his gratitude. Gates Davison, of the Fair staff, looks on. v 


ALFONS DE RIJDT, President and Architect, Beautiful Belgium, Inc. 
GERARD VANDE-VELDE, Vice President, Beautiful Belgium, Inc. 

Flushing 52, N.Y. 

Tel. 212-WF 4--1964 

ROBERT MOSES, President 

THOMAS J. DEEGAN, JR., Chairman of the Executive Committee 

WILLIAM E. POTTER, Executive Vice President 

CHARLES POLETTI, Vice President, International Affairs and Exhibits 

STUART CONSTABLE, Vice President, Operations 

WILLIAM BERNS, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations 

ERWIN WITT, Comptroller 

MARTIN STONE, Director of Industrial Section 

GUY F. TOZZOLI, (Port of New York Authority) Transportation Section 

ERNESTINE R. HAIG, Secretary of the Corporation and 
Assistant to the President 

WILLIAM WHIPPLE, JR., Chief Engineer