Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New York World's Fair, August 1964

It's time to sift through a collection of slide scans from the New York World's Fair!

The Vatican Pavilion was one of the most-visited attractions at the Fair, bringing approximately 27 million guests through its doors... only General Motors' "Futurama" topped it. What was  the big draw??

Michelangelo's beautiful "Pieta"! This was the first (and only) time that this treasure was allowed out of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome since 1499. It was behind large sheets of bulletproof glass, and people viewed it from one of three moving sidewalks. 

I guess they couldn't get this statue.

Meanwhile, over at the New York State Pavilion, something's going on beneath the "tent of tomorrow". Notice that the floor is a giant terrazzo map of New York. The partially-silhouetted little girl to the extreme right is practically standing on Albany! It appears that there is a military band performing, I sure wish I knew what the occasion was.

And, even though it isn't the clearest photo in the world, I thought I would finish with this shot from the General Motors Pavilion, featuring the ultra-sleek GM-X Stiletto concept car. Can you believe that this beautiful thing was eventually sent to the crusher when GM decided that it didn't love it anymore?

There are more World's Fair images to come!


Nanook said...


I believe the "love is..." statue was first on-display at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. New York wasn't interested in showing off retreads-!

Thanks, Major.

Nancy said...

I love New York! lol always happy to see views of this Fair.

It doesnt surprise me that the Vatican Pavillion was so visited. Back then I remember there was a heavy emphasis on religion and going to church and CCD every week. I myself went to Catholic school for 5 years. This seems not to be the trend today as much as then, tho people are certainly religious today as they always have been. I hope that makes sense and does not offend anyone.

A rare view of the INSIDE of the NY Pavillion. The outfits being worn by the group remind me of military casuals. Could be completely wrong. I love the map! wonder if it is still there....

Cool little car there....too bad that the future didnt hold this model in local showrooms!

love a trip to the Fair, Major! Thanks for a great start to my day off :-)

Chuck said...

Hard to tell at this resolution even what military service is represented here, but based on the dark-colored hats on the band, what I think are shiny helmets on the guys walking in front of the stage, and what appears to be gold braid on the front of the cap on the guy in Class A's in front of the whole formation a little to our left of the right side (stage left) of the curtain, I'm going to call "Army."

Nancy is right about views inside the NY Pavilion being rare. I think the only other one I've seen was in a 1964 National Geographic.

K. Martinez said...

When I see these images, I imagine how cool it would be if Tomorrowland went back into world's fair mode. Don't know what it is, but I love the New York State pavilion "tent of tomorrow" image with the red and white striped walls, terrazzo map and military bands playing. Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

I second K. Martinez's suggestion. Tomorrowland needs to buck up and get back to what it was all about: promise of the future (even if it has to make one up, and I don't mean the Jules Verne-y type of making it up).

Love the first shot. Because it has a Luminaire featured prominently. We went to see "Tomorrowland" on opening day, and my wife thought I was nuts to get so giddy about seeing one of those beautiful light fixtures on the big screen. I'm glad they paid enough attention to detail to get that in there.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, of course we all remember when a madman attacked the “love is…” statue with a hammer. Fortunately, it was restored and looks as amazing as ever.

Nancy, from what I can tell, the Mormon pavilion was also very popular! At least judging by photos of the outside of it. I can’t imagine that your comment would offend anyone, but then again, some people are just waiting to be offended! I think this might be my only photo of the inside of the New York pavilion, so you’re right, it must be rare. Glad you liked these!

Chuck, if anybody would know, it would be you! The Army guys are there to protect the pavilion from proto-hippies. Give ‘em heck!

K. Martinez, what is amazing is that there have been recent World’s Fairs - a huge one in Shanghai in 2010 - and there were all kinds of futuristic buildings, modern innovations, etc. I suppose it might just be impractical to do something like that for a theme park, but man, it would be nice.

Tom, I think that Walt Disney’s optimism for the future is one of the things that I admire about the man; in spite of all the dark things that were going on in the world in the 1960’s, he truly believed that we could overcome all of it and live happy lives. The Jules Verne thing sounded good to me as a concept, but it sure didn’t work - at least the way it was implemented. I still need to see “Tomorrowland”, and hope it is good!

dennis said...

Major- there is a group of volunteers who are trying to restore the ground level interior of the New York State Pavilion. Check out www.nyspproject.com Dennis Levittown NY

Debbie V. said...

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm hoping the Tomorrowland movie is the start of new Tomorrowlands on both coasts.
I like pretty much anything from 1964 - the year the Beatles came to New York :)

Dean Finder said...

Another interesting note, you can see a blue and yellow building between the pillars of the NY pavilion. It was the home of the Sweden pavilion:
I don't think I've ever seen it before

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