Flushing Meadow - Corona Park
King Hussain of the Hachamite Kingdom of Jordan presented this 30 foot-high marble column to the New York World's Fair Corporation and City of New York on the occasion of Jordan's participation in the New York World's Fair of 1964-65, held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The delicate column, with its modified Corinthian capital, was originally erected in 120 AD by Romans in the ancient Jordanian city of Jerash. It was part of the Temple or Artemis, named for the "principal deity" of the city, then known as Gerasa. Once a small village under the rule of Greek General Antiochus IV (175-163 BCE), Gerasa grew over the next three centuries into a major metropolis under Greek and later Roman occupation. When Roman Syria was reorganized in 63AD, Gerasa became a free city, and was at its height when the Column of Jerash was built. Portions of the ruined temple remain on view in Jordan.
The 1964-65 New York World's Fair, where this column was unveiled in the United States, ambitiously considered the theme of "Man' in a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe." The influence of the Space Age marked the Fair in its design and its function; from posters and T-shirts to the exhibits themselves, an air of progress, new technology, and American optimism pervaded. Most of the 140 pavilions were American-owned,
After the Obelisk in Central Park, the oldest item on outdoors public display in NYC.representing major corporations like General Electric, General Motors, IBM, and Pepsi-Cola.
Thirty-six foreign countries did host exhibits at the Fair, however, including Jordan. The Jordanian pavilion was a splendid "multi-peaked-and domed structure with an undulating roof, and surfaced in gold mosaic and shimmering blue glass." It sat near the Court of the Astronauts, between the pavilions of the United Arabic Republic and Sudan at the site now marked by the column. Inside the pavilion, one could view various religious and physical artifacts from Jordan's history, including a scale model of the Rock of the Dome, statues of the Three Kings, a Christian creche, and perhaps the most visited relic of all: one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This ancient treasure was displayed in a replica of the cave in which it was discovered.
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 publicly displayed in New York City's parks.