The World's Fair, opening this week, will be partly the scene of, and partly the occasion for, a strenuous spring and summer of sports in New York. Many of the tryouts for next fall's Tokyo Olympics will be held at the fair, in the 18,000-seat Singer Bowl and in the World's Fair Pavilion, which seats 2,100. Because of the fair, the Olympic Committee scheduled more trial events in and around New York than have ever before been held in a single region. The tests are expected to draw vaster audiences than usual, with personnel and equipment for accommodating them available at the fair.
If fairgoers become alarmed by whatever the chillingly titled Fun House of the Future holds in store for them, or if they become sated with refinement in the House of Good Taste, they can turn to the simple and familiar pleasures of athletics.
Tryouts for the U.S. boxing team will take place on May 18, 19 and 20 in the Singer Bowl, followed by judo trials on June 12 and 13 and wrestling (Greco-Roman and freestyle) August 24 through 28. Fencing tryouts will be staged July 12 through 14 in the World's Fair Pavilion.
Other Olympic tests are scheduled away from the fair, but conveniently near enough for out-of-towners who want to see the city as well as take in the trials. Track and field competition will be held July 3 and 4 in 22,000-seat Downing Stadium on Randall's Island, located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, beneath the Triborough Bridge. Fanciers of female shot-putters will find them on Randall's Island a month later on August 6 and 7.
Rowing trials will be held at Orchard Beach on Pelham Bay in The Bronx, singles and eights races July 8 through 11, followed by fours, pairs and double sculls August 26 through 29.
Gymnasts will compete for a trip to Tokyo at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point on the near north shore of Long Island, August 26 through 29. August 25 through 29 water polo trials will be held at Astoria Pool, in Astoria Park near the fair. Swimming and diving trials will begin immediately thereafter, from August 29 through September 7. Cycling track events (August 31 through September 3 at Kissena Park Velodrome) and volleyball (September 2 through 5 at Queens College) will also be in Queens. Canoeing trials are planned at Orchard Beach September 12 and 13. Cycling road races—the only Olympic tryouts to be held on Manhattan Island—will be run in Central Park September 5 and 6.
This adds up to what the fair committee calls "the 59 Olympic Days" of final and semifinal trials, involving over 2,000 athletes. The fair administration put up $350,000 to get the Olympic tests. Olympic trials taking place at the fair itself are free to those attending the fair. Tickets for events elsewhere can be obtained on a first-come-first-served basis through the Department of Parks, Fifth Avenue and 64th Street.
Several AAU championship events will also be staged at the fair. AAU judo takes place May 1 through 3 in the Singer Bowl; gymnastics May 7, 8 and 9 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, junior weightlifting May 23 and 24 in the Pavilion and wrestling June 22 through 26 in the Singer Bowl.
Besides events connected with the fair, New York has sporting riches of its own. Shea Stadium, new burnt-orange-and-turquoise home of the New York Mets, is in Flushing, close enough to the fair to be a part of it. On Randall's Island the International Soccer League will play Wednesday and Sunday nights from May 31 to August 9. In Forest Hills, not far from the fair, the West Side Tennis Club will be host to the tennis Nationals from September 2 to 13.
Visitors to the fair can combine sightseeing with game-watching, for some kind of game is always going on in New York, often in unlikely places. There is boccie, for instance—an Italian version of the ancient game of bowls. New York's Park Department provides no fewer than 74 boccie courts. The visitor can even combine dinner with boccie, for Fellin's Restaurant on the south edge of Greenwich Village has its own court right on the premises.