Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Here are a few more vintage snapshots from the 1939 New York World's Fair!
Over at the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) pavilion, you were greet by the impressive sight of this statue of a noble worker holding a red star. At 269 feet tall, it was dwarfed only by the 700 foot tall Trylon. Construction workers at the Fair dubbed this statue "Big Joe" and "The Bronx Express Straphanger"! One of the more popular exhibits in the pavilion was a full-size recreation of a subway station, made to look larger by using mirrors.
Italy's pavilion was another striking landmark, with a waterfall that cascaded down the entire front of the structure! "Roma" sits above it, majestically. While the Fair was at the end of the Great Depression, the restaurant at the Italian pavilion (modeled after the luxury liner "S.S. Conti de Savoia") was one of the most expensive, and was surprisingly popular.
Right near the Trylon and Perisphere was this sculpture, a giant sundial entitled "Time and the Fates of Man", by Paul Manship (famous for his golden statue of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center). The sculpture represented "The Tree of Life, the Three Fates, and Man's Destiny".
Another sculpture can be seen to our left, entitled "Riders of the Elements". Notice the light fixtures with the airplanes! In the background you can see the 100 foot-tall fin of the Firestone building, where one could watch a tire being born (among other things).
The General Motors building most famously contained the original "Futurama" attraction, by far the most popular at the Fair. Designed by Norman Bel Geddes, Futurama showed visitors what the country could look like 20 years in the future, with an emphasis on an automated interstate highway system. Over 500 guests at a time rode a conveyor system that simulated the view from a low-flying airplane, soaring above mountains and countryside, eventually heading into a utopian city. In many ways it was the forerunner of the kind of attractions that Disney would produce at Epcot.