Tuesday, September 13, 2016

1964 New York World's Fair at Night

I have a group of about 20 night shots from the fabulous 1964 New York World's Fair - some of them are really neat! And.... some of them leave something to be desired. Like sharp focus, for instance. 8 of the photos were shot from the New York Pavilion's observation tower, and because of their flaws, I decided to just corral them into one post. 

We'll start with this fairly decent look at the wonderful Unisphere surrounded by fountains; a bit to the left and up is the USA pavilion (looks like a striped wall), and the brightest lights are from Shea Stadium - probably a Mets game. 

For some reason this next image has an overall warm, golden tone. I scanned it exactly the same way as the first one, so it's all a mystery to me. But it's pretty!

Looking across the Grand Central Parkway we can see the building that housed General Motors' "Futurama", as well as the "Helldrivers" stunt show arena.

There's the cratered moon dome, part of the Transportation and Travel pavilion, with the Chrysler pavilion and the U.S. Rubber Ferris Wheel (in the shape of a giant tire). Behind the moon dome is the Port Authority building with a rooftop heliport.

I wish that this one was clearer, but I still love it because I did not know that those inflatable "moon berries" lit up at night! Each one marked the location of a "Brass Rail" eatery. In the middle of the photo you can see the dome of General Electric's "Progressland", with its show of swirling lights. Just to its left is the purple and blue Tower of Light building, and above that is the Bell System pavilion. The red "umbrella" dome of the Traveller's Insurance pavilion can be seen as well.

Here's a second shot in a vertical format. It's a little clearer, and again, weirdly warm in tone. Now you can just make out the spidery form of the Johnson's Wax pavilion, just to the left of the Tower of Light.

The brightest lights in this image are from the Eastman Kodak pavilion with its giant, brilliantly-lit photo prints (30 feet high), while just to its left (hard to discern) is the Pepsi-Cola pavilion with the Tower of the Four Winds.

Looking down from the New York Pavilion's observation deck, we see the hundreds of lights that capped the multicolored translucent panels of the "Tent of Tomorrow". Groovy!

In case you'd forgotten, here's what those panels looked like during the day. With all of those lightbulbs, it must have been pretty stunning from the ground level after the sun went down.

I hope you have enjoyed this World's Fair extravaganza!


Nanook said...


It IS an extravaganza-! (I love that word). I wonder where the Chunky Candy Corporation Pavilion is hiding-?

Thanks, Major, for this extravaganza.

Melissa said...

Anything can happen under the light of the glowing Moonberries!

(The Glowing Moonberries is my favorite Monkees cover band.)

Chuck said...

Seeing those luminescent drupelets reminds me that geneticists really need to breed a glowing berry to facilitate nocturnal fruit picking. C'mon, Monsanto - show us that great big beautiful tomorrow night!

Scott Lane said...

For a change everybody else is being silly and I'm posting a serious, "Wow these are great shots, Major!" comment.
Wow, these are great shots, Major!

dennis said...

Great stuff Major! I hope you have a lot more Worlds Fair pictures waiting for us!
Dennis, Levittown Long Island

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, oh it’s in there somewhere! “Man and Chunky”. “Transportation and Chunky”. “History and Chunky”. So many amazing exhibits. Plus the audio-animatronic Chunky.

Melissa, oh I like that name! If only I had some musical talent.

Chuck, that new Monsanto fruit makes people grow larger. Larger people eat more fruit. More fruit = more money for Monsanto. Brilliant.

Scott Lane, thanks! They do make a nice set.

Dennis, I do have a few hundred more NYWF slides!

Chuck said...

You know, looking at these again, I really want to tell the photographer of the 6th image to turn his phone sideways.

Anonymous said...

Driving today...I think those "Helldrivers" have moved beyond their show and populate the road! :) KS

Nancy said...

Chuck, it made me smile to see your thought that in 1964 he should have turned his "phone" sideways lol! So much has changed since these views were made....and I wish I had been there to take my own!!

Stunning pics, Major!! I LUV Shea Stadium all lit up in the background. The General Motors building with its tailfin is one of my faves of this Fair. The Tent of Tomorrow looks like it's a wheel of lights moving REAL fast!

I have to say that this is one of my very favorite NYWF sets ever. Cant wait to see some more! :-D

Dean Finder said...

Does anyone know if there was any significance to the colored dots on the stylized outline of NY state in the final image?

Also Chunky candy is immediately behind the Brass Rail to the right of GE's Progressland.

Chuck said...

Dean Finder - I'm not 100% certain, but I think it may have indicated annual per capita M&M consumption. Or maybe something different.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, he mostly did hold it sideways! But I agree, the “portrait” mode does not work as well for these panoramas.

Nancy, the 1964 World’s Fair was really the last great U.S. Fair in my opinion, and it really shows in the exuberance of the architecture.

Dean Finder, there are 62 dots, one for each of New York’s counties. Really!

Chuck, New Yorkers definitely hate candies that melt in their hands.

Major Pepperidge said...

I need to stop using the word "really" so much. Really.

Anonymous said...

These pictures make me sorry that I never saw this fair. Previous pictures have always left me kind of flat, but the night shots are spectacular.

Thank you, Major.


walterworld said...

These are fantastic...Really! :D

Thanks Major