Thursday, January 26, 2012

New York World's Fair Assortment

It's time for another visit to the Fair!

This must have been quite a sight for weary New Yorkers on their daily commutes - the gleaming World's Fair buildings, in all their strange futuristic shapes. Imagine it at night, too! And even though the Fair was only there for about 18 months (with a 6 month winter hiatus), people probably got used to the view and didn't even notice it any more. It's human nature!

From the "moon roof" of the Eastman Kodak pavilion (see it here) comes this view looking sort of south and west; to our left you can see the square top of the "House of Japan". The Austrian pavilion has the 3 laminated-spruce a-frame supports that actually suspended the building 15 feet off the ground! Just to the right of the 7-up tower, you can see a golden, spiked ball. What is that?

It's the "Solar Fountain"! The fountain, situated in a 120-foot diameter pool, consists of a golden bubble with sparkling glass inserts. A vertical column, 40-feet high, supports a 6-foot diameter golden sunburst waterfall.

Now, if you go back to photo #2 and imagine looking just slightly to your left, you get a good look at the "Sermons From Science" building (with the huge Unisphere looming in the background). This would be the third time that a Sermons From Science pavilion had been at a World's Fair (it was also at the 1939 NYWF, and the 1962 Expo). A California pastor came up with the idea of using scientific demonstrations as a way of communicating Biblical concepts to younger audiences. Presentations included "Eyes That See In Darkness", "A Cry That Shatters Glass", and "A Flashlight That Talks".


Nancy said...

Thanks for making me say the word stupendous this just does not get enough airplay

I see the Tower of the Four Winds there on the right in picture one, and what do you suppose that toothbrush-convention looking thing is there in the foreground of the Austrian pavilion between the Sermons of Science building and that white stingray fish looking building?

i see our streetlamps in picture two, looking so colorful in the sunshine, and i LUV those two signs in the foreground, billboard sort of affairs, adverts I would guess. They would make nice postcards I think.

seeing the Tower again in picture three and that fountain is very cool. The spiky ball there on top reminds me of a sign we have someplace around here for a business that I can remember as a kid, and now I am going to have to think of what it is!

Picture four.....SKYWAY!! I know what will be for dinner tonight... waffles and pizza ;-)

what a set...I think you have outdone yourself today. what a day at the Fair!

dang, that time machine is calling me again...

David said...

What amazes me, was how none of the building designs ever caught on. The idea was always "This is the future." But sadly, today's future still sort of looks like the past. Granted, a lot of the internal stuff in these buildings came to pass, but I was always fascinated by the buildings designs that contained that stuff. Of course, the suburbs would never accept that type of "future." Suburbs were, and still are, about conforming.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, the white building you are referring to is the Eastman Kodak pavilion. You'll see plenty of photos of that on my blog, comin' up!

David, imagine how much more interesting cities and neighborhoods would be if those "futuristic" styles had caught on. I admit that when I imagine what my dream house would be (if I won the lottery!), I waver between something daring and unconventional, and something vintage/traditional. So I guess that makes me a hypocrite or something!

Anonymous said...

Very very nice pics!
The first pic from the highway looks like a small model of the fair, complete with plastic cars. You know what caught my eye? The cars all have hubcaps!!

Bill in Denver

Hannahx2 said...

I'm in love with that Solar Fountain picture! Look at that perfect blue sky with the fluffy white clouds. Awesome! And there's 'it's a small world' in the background again :)

Nanook said...

The main reason the "futuristic design" never became the norm is quite simple: structures requiring shapes, angles, or extras beyond the basics needed for structural soundness and a "normal" design cost money. Extra money. Sometimes lots of it. Few developers wish to justify such extravagance. Certainly many corporate buildings have incorporated different, often futuristic or non-standard designs, just not many.

I work in a Frank Gehry-designed building. There's nothing stock about the exterior, whatsoever. Some like it, others find it abhorrent - one of the risks of trying something different.

And in spite of most people saying how much they love new things and change, quite the opposite is most-often the rule. I'm afraid we'll have to enjoy what "the future" could've been by looking back at it.

Anonymous said...

I live about 15 miles from the Worlds Fairgrounds and I can STILL see the fair in my mind when driving by!
Dennis, Levittown NY