Click on the link here for Audio Player – WNBC-AM News – April 21, 1964 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
This broadcast from WABC-AM in New York covers primarily local news of the day, but the big anticipation is for the opening. Concerns that Civil Rights protestors, who were coming in from all over the country, would disrupt the otherwise festive occasion, was a topic for discussion. Anticipated traffic stall-ins, pickets, work stoppage – a whole catalog of planned Civil Rights protests had the city, and Mayor Wagner, on edge. Compounding everything was a planned protest march outside of Gracie Mansion in memory of Civil Rights martyrs.
Charges and counter-charges from civic leaders over the planned protests. Pleas from Civil Rights leaders and Clergy that this set of protests may defeat the purpose the protests were intended to convey. All of it had everyone arguing back-and-forth in front of a Worlds Fair opening which had the attention of most of the world focused on it.
But the city had its hands full in other areas. A subway fire between Times Square and Grand Central station caused major damage, closing the station at Grand Central and the street above at 42nd Street because of damage to the roadway. Another in a series of commuter nightmares for this day. No injuries though. Just a big twisted, melted mess and millions of dollars in damage.
All that, and a lot more for this April 21st 1964 via WABC-AM and another day in the life of the Big Apple.