My fascination with underground homes began around the time the Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone movie Blast From the Past hit theaters. It was 1999, a time when underground homes were a relic from a bygone era when Americans had feared and prepared for the worst. In the ’90s, we were no longer worried about this, living in what would, in retrospect, be an all too brief reprieve from the fear of a nuclear blast. During that window when the fear faded, these underground homes were just kitschy time capsules.
Years ago, a very intriguing rumor spread that the underground home exhibit set up for the World’s Fair of 1964-65—between the Hall of Science and Terrace on the Park—was never removed from beneath the fair’s site. Could there be a 1960s underground home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park right now? A few have asked, but only uncertainty has been uncovered each time. Recently I became determined to find out once and for all—I reached out to the Parks Department, a professor at the University of Central Florida who previously proposed an excavation of the site, and a television producer who recreated the home for an episode of CSI: NY. Eventually, I discovered the answer buried not in Queens, but in the depths of the New York Public Library.