Thursday, February 25, 2016

Scenes From the New York World's Fair

We're back at the World's Fair, circa October 1964!

Let's start with this first view. The Unisphere can't help overwhelming everything around it, but in the foreground is a smaller bronze armillary sphere (or spherical astrolabe), originally created for the 1939/40 World's Fair by Paul Manship, who is perhaps most famous for his golden statue of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center. As you can see, the constellations are represented by signs of the zodiac. 

In the 1970's, 8 of the 12 zodiac sculptures were pilfered by thieves. and in the 80's, 2 more figures, and even some of the circular bands holding the piece together were stolen. Copies of the missing pieces were made from the artist's original casts, and eventually the bull representing Taurus turned up in the home of a plumber, but the armillary still needs to be restored before it can be shown in public again. This is why we can't have nice things!

Next is this photo of a statue in front of Spain's pavilion (which LIFE magazine called the "jewel of the Fair"); the statue represents Queen Isabella, who was the patron of Christopher Columbus. The bronze statue is almost 9 feet tall, and was sculpted by artist Jose Luis Sanchez. I was very curious as to why there seemed to be so many floral tributes left at the foot of the statue, and was happy to find this bit of info at the wonderful nywf64 website

"October 12th was proclaimed to be the Day of Spain at the Fair. On account of this there were different events held in which the affection of the Ibero-American countries toward Spain became manifest and was symbolized principally in the offerings of flowers and fruits before the statue of Queen Isabella the Catholic which presides over the Pavilion of Spain"

Interesting! I think we have an exact date for today's three photographs.

And finally, here's a photo of the Masonic Brotherhood Center. where one would have found displays of Masonic memorabilia and history going back many hundreds of years.  Note the structure in the shape of the square and compass, two of the key symbols of the Masons. I had seen this glyph with the letter "G" before, but never knew what it stood for... apparently the "G" stand for "The Great Architect of the Universe" (though it might also stand for "Geometry"). There was an 11-foot tall statue of George Washington; did you know that the first 14 American Presidents were Freemasons?

Luminaire alert!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the 1964 New York World's Fair.


Chuck said...

Major, these are some wonderful photos today!

With the luminaire, the last photo is actually a threefur. While the square and compass structure stood in front of the Masonic Brotherhood Center, the actual building is to our left, across the bridge and out of frame. The building in the background is the Protestant and Orthodox Center, sponsored by the Protestant Council of the City of New York.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I'm glad you like them... you're the only one, apparently!! ;-)

I should have been more specific regarding the Masonic Brotherhood Center, for sure. The Masonic building itself was somewhat nondescript, in a 1960's kind of way (it looked like a bank). It's interesting how prominent religious organizations were featured at the Fair, including the Mormons, the Protestant and Orthodox Center (as you mentioned), and the Vatican.

Tom said...

Any picture with a Luminaire is a great picture.

Thanks for NYWF'64 photos! Love them.

K. Martinez said...

Apparently the offerings to Queen Isabella consisted of more than mere fruits and flowers. I spy a little white plush animal.

Yes, we love NYWF'64 photos! Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I also like these photos! I don't remember seeing pics of any of these subjects previously. They are all new to me. It's too bad about the armillary thingy. I wonder if that pool of water that it sat over is still on the old fair grounds site today. I'm guessing that even if they restored the sculpture, they can't just put it back where it was. Maybe they could put it in the 1939 building that originally housed a skating rink and that now contains the restored 1964 model of New York City.

Ha, Ken! I spotted that little plush animal too. It looks like a polar bear (climbing an orange tree???).

Anonymous said...

Any photo set with an armillary sphere gets my vote.


dennis said...

Thanks for the World's Fair photos,
Major! Dennis-Levittown, Long Island

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, if I knew anything about welding or electricity, I think I would want to attempt to make a simple luminaire - scaled down, because the originals are huge. And if the simple one turned out OK, maybe I’d graduate to a more advanced design!

K. Martinez, maybe that was from the people of Alaska??

TokyoMagic!, I’m not 100% positive, but I think the empty pool is still there. I agree, if the sculpture is ever restored, it’s probably not a good idea to leave it in the same spot. It seems a shame to not have it outside, though. Maybe it could be placed somewhere in the Queens Zoo. As for the bear, Spain is known for its orange trees (that’s where the original Valencia is, after all), so maybe that’s why the bear is climbing an orange tree.

JG, a vote for an armillary sphere is a vote for fun.

dennis, don’t worry, there’s more to come!

Dean Finder said...

It looks like the Armillary Sphere sat between the NY City Pavilion (now the Queens Museum) and the Unisphere. There's no pool there now.

BTW, you can buy a cube from one of the Luminaria:
I have one in my house right now (my wife knows how to but Christmas gifts)
I have to warn you - they are much larger than you think - each cube is 18" on a side. I thought I wanted a whole lamp, but I have no idea where it would fit. It would be comically large in my yard.

Anonymous said...

I believe the statue of Isabella is now in from of the Organization of American States, Washington, DC.,-77.0394668,3a,37.5y,271.53h,87.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRkHpH6SVPgC3q0_5kZJADw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1