Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New York World's Fair

Several buildings at the New York World's Fair provided wonderful elevated views of the excitement that was all around - the Better Living Center, the Eastman Kodak "Moon Roof", and most of all, the observation towers of the New York State pavilion!

Here's a great look at the enormous "Futurama" building (brought to you by General Motors). Some folks have remarked on how the building resembles some sort of futuristic vehicle with the world's biggest tailfin, but I have always assumed that that is merely a coincidence. Notice the long line wrapping around the structure, with some added blue and white shaded areas. For those of you who care, that's Grand Central Parkway cutting through the scene.


Here's a rare interior shot from the "Tower of Light" pavilion (see it at night here). The show involved Reddy Kilowatt and Ben Franklin singing about the wonders of electricity. This particular photo was from a segment that lamented the high cost of living, with these "kilowatt birds" extolling the low cost of electricity.


Looking another direction, we see a group of international pavilions in the foreground.


Here is a handy-dandy guide in case you want to know what you are looking at!

14 comments:

Chiana_Chat said...

Those white balloon pods sure look like something meant to take a capsule for a bouncy landing on Mars.

Kilowatt birds? I had no idea a bird would look like that if they were exposed to a kilowat. And they don't think it came at a high price eh? Pretty, in a freaky way. Very educational, that fair!

Chuck said...

What are those buildings with the giant white drupelets on the roof?

TokyoMagic! said...

Yeah, that shot of the birds must be pretty rare. I wonder if their bodies were made out of real light bulbs?

Hannahx2 said...

I am one of those "some folks" you speak of. It's totally a huge space ship/jet plane thingy!
P.S. I want a kilowatt bird now. Xmas gift??

Katella Gate said...

"the low cost of electricity"... I'm sure nobody will believe this, but there was a time that electric rates were structured so that the more you used, the less you paid per kW hour.

Those days a long past...

Connie Moreno said...

I'm with Hannah...I want one of those cool birds.

Katella Gate said...

Actually Connie, I've been looking at those birds too for about an hour. They look like they're supposed to be seen in subdued lighting. The wings look like optical fibers and of course the body is a bulb. I wonder if there was any animation.

Anybody have any more info on these guys?

JG said...

interesting pics Major, I'm not an "upfront" fan of the fair, since I know little about it, but you make it interesting.

@KG, depending on your use (industrial), electricity can still be priced that way (here at least). It makes calculation of Photovoltaic payback a black art.

JG

Major Pepperidge said...

Chiana, something tells me that those balloons were very early examples of "inflatable architecture", like I've seen at some airports. It must have seemed very futuristic at the time.

Chuck, all of those buildings with the drupelets (10 points for you!) are where "The Brass Rail" restaurants were.

TM, I am guessing that the bodies of the birds were not real lightbulbs, in spite of their shape.

Hannahx2, you might be right! The GM building might really have been designed with that in mind. Maybe I should do some research! ;-/

Katella, I am sure that the Kilowatt Birds were originally in a low-light environment. Flash pictures, don't trust 'em! There isn't much info specifically about the birds, I was just happy to even find out what the heck they were.

Connie, I have to admit that I would like one suspended from my living room, maybe in the corner!!

JG, I'm not sure I make the Fair interesting... it does a good job of that all by itself.

Melissa said...

Reddy Kilowatt! That brings back memories. My Dad worked for NYSEG, and we had stuff all over the house with that creepy little guy on it. I'd love to have seen him singing and dancing with Ben Franklin.

walterworld said...

Took a look on Google, looks like two community baseball fields now occupy the area where the Futurama building once stood. Wish I could have seen that one...

Pilsner Panther said...

The buildings with the balloons on top are snack bars; I believe they were operated by the J.M. Stevens Company, which was also the food concessionaire for the N.Y. metropolitan area sports stadiums. And still is, for all I know (I moved to California years ago).

Nancy said...

so cool...i definitely missed out when I was a kid!! every time you post pics of this Fair, i smile all day long :-) thanks!

Anonymous said...

I ate my first french-fry in one of those snack bars! Dennis,Levittown NY