Tuesday, November 22, 2011

World's Fair Fun

Here's another group of photos from the New York World's Fair!

The Belgian Village was one of the more frequently-photographed landmarks at the Fair, and it's easy to see why. It was big, and had lots of wonderfully detailed architecture that was probably unlike anything else most visitors had seen in person. Plus there were those waffles with the whipped cream and strawberries! I love this unusual view showing the meandering, uneven, cobblestone streets. Is that a light dusting of a snow I see? There are a lot of overcoats, so it was obviously cold on this October day.

The Century Grill was not exactly pleasing to the eye; but I am happy to have this photo, mostly because it is something different. There had been a Century Grill at the 1939 World's Fair as well. The menu included burgers, as well as side dishes from around the world.

Avis sponsored the Antique Auto ride; guests could putter around at 6 mph in miniature flivvers, as though on a picturesque drive through the country (try to ignore the soaring Ford and GM buildings nearby!). I admit that this photo is pretty "meh"!


The Viewliner Limited said...

I always enjoy some cool pics from the fair. Very Nice!

Anonymous said...

Belgium is great.

Beef, onions, beer, frites with mayonnaise, great old stone buildings, classic art. It's like France without Frenchmen.

More Belgium.


TokyoMagic! said...

It's still hard to believe that the Belgian Village and almost everything else from the fair was torn down. I know the agreement was to return the land to the city as a park, but what a shame someone (Disney?) didn't try to take it over and run it. Of course with it only being able to operate from Spring to Fall, maybe it would have suffered the same fate as Freedomland.

I've never seen a photo of the Century Grill. It sort of looks like a mid-century modern grocery store....Alpha-Beta comes to mind for some reason.

David said...

There are some cities here in SoCal where that Century Grill building style still exists. I mean, if it wasn't for the lasy passing by in her Jackie O inspired outfit, this could be today (somewhat).

Anonymous said...

more worlds fair pictures, please!

Dennis-Levittown NY

Major Pepperidge said...

Viewliner and Dennis from Levittown, I will keep on posting stuff from the Fair!

JG... ha ha! Oh, those French. I have to admit though, I've been to France a couple of times and think it's pretty great.

TM!, I know, the whole "build it, and then tear it down" aspect of most World's Fairs is a crime. My understanding is that the '64 Fair lost money, so even with all of the additional wonders to behold, I doubt the Belgian Village could have lasted very long. As for the Century Grill, many of the lesser buildings were basically pre-fab sheds with a little bit of ornamentation stuck on.

David, that lady didn't make me think of Jackie O in any way! ;-)

Nanook said...

With the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle just around the corner, there is plenty of nostalgia in the air. Unlike the 1964-65 NY World's Fair, which unfortunately did indeed lose money, the Seattle World's Fair actually did make money. And also unlike the NY Fair, many of the buildings, either re-purposed for the fair in 1962, or purpose-built for it are still standing and have been in daily use for almost 50 years. The most famous, obviously, being the Space Needle. Others, such as the United States Pavilion - re-purposed as the Pacific Science Center, the Washington State Coliseum (now Key Arena) and the International Fountain - are examples of deliberate planning for a post-fair landscape that would continue to serve the community of Seattle. Oh, yeah - also the Alweg Monorail which for all practical purposes remains untouched (on the outsides, anyway) from its 20th century roots.

And speaking of the Belgian Village... it turns out the Belgian waffle was introduced to American taste buds, not at the '64 world's Fair but in 1962, in Seattle.

Nancy said...

yay!! a day a the Fair! had some eats at the Grill, a look around Belgium with a waffle for dessert and then a turn on the Antique Auto ride.

i really like that Century Grill building, im so left over you know. thanks for these great shots :)

Chuck said...

I think I remember reading somewhere (and it wasn't written by me, so it's probably reliable) that Walt was offered an opportunity to build an East Coast Disneyland on the 39-40/64-65 WF site.

If I'm remembering correctly, he declined for all of the economic reasons that killed the WF and Freedomland (climate, repeated zombie attacks) as well as the fact that he had something bigger planned for land he'd been secretly buying in Florida.

Not sure anything ever came out of that other venture, but it's nice to know the man had dreams.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the continued use of the 1962 Fair buildings is one of the reasons I said "most World's Fairs" in my comment! Of course a few of the 1964 NYWF structures still stand, but they are generally falling apart. I could be wrong, but perhaps one of the advantages of the Seattle Fair is that its size was more manageable. As for the origin of the Belgian waffle, I'll take your word for it! Thank you for all the great info.

Nancy, I have NEVER had a Belgian waffle! And they look so good. Guess I could just make one myself, how hard can it be.

Chuck, I think I read the same thing. Imagine if there HAD been a New York Disneyland! Once I was outbid on a vintage newspaper that had a cover story about a possible St. Louis Disney park!