Thursday, May 16, 2013

Views From The New York Pavilion, 1964 World's Fair

It has been over two months since we've visited the 1964 New York World's Fair, so let's hop in our cardboard box ("Calvin and Hobbes" style) and head back in time.

The New York State pavilion was an extremely popular destination, in large part because of the striking bird's-eye views that guests could get atop the 226-foot observation tower. And striking views meant that the cameras came out, resulting in many thousands of photos snapped from up there. 

This is kind of an interesting view... I'm wondering where the photographer was standing that gave him an even more elevated view as he snapped a picture of his wife and son (near the Unisphere). The Fair below almost looks like an elaborate diorama. Notice the blue light globes that surrounded the edge of tower roof.

World's Fair freaks have seen images like the next 3 a jillion times, but the average person will hopefully still find these interesting. SO... there's the wonderful Unisphere. In the upper left corner is the United States pavilion; lower left (with the blue squares) is the New England States pavilion. In the upper right corner, the red tile roof of the Republic of China building is prominent.

The white-domed General Electric pavilion ("Progressland") is easily spotted in the upper left of this picture. In the upper left, the hexagonal Better Living Center, and next to it, the Pepsi Cola pavilion (with the Tower of the Four Winds out front). The Eastman Kodak building is just below the Pepsi pavilion. Sweden's building at the bottom is modern, but the blue and gold fa├žade reminds me of a medieval banner. The wavy roof of the Sermons From Science building is also distinctive.

The huge oval building at center/right (with the frilly "tent" on top) is the Vatican pavilion (where guests could see Michelangelo's Pieta). And to the left of that is the Belgian Village (go get a waffle!). The large structure in the lower left was originally going to be the French pavilion, but it never was built. So instead it was The Pavilion of Paris and French Industry.

I think it's time to scan some more World's Fair slides.


Nancy said...

WOW! All of this, and Shea Stadium is the cherry on top!!

There was so much to see. Again so sad I never saw this for myself

In photo 2, what is the blue wall-looking affair with the little red doodads painted on it that we can see just above the Unisphere?

K. Martinez said...

I could see world's fair photos a jillion times more and never tire of them. With the exception of EPCOT Center, I never got to visit a World's Fair. I can only imagine what wonders these places held.

LauraJ953 said...

The Sweden pavilion looks remotely like a modern day Ikea.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, I'm not sure what that building is; I used to think it was the train station where Fair visitors stopped, but have since changed my mind. Does anybody reading this have an idea?

K. Martinez, of course the best thing would be to visit the '64 Fair knowing what you know now. The sheer retro-ness of it all would blow your mind!

LauraJ953, you're right! It never occurred to me. Sweden likes big blue buildings.

Dennis said...

Maajor- I go to a lot of Mets games and I can tell you I beleive your right about picture 2. The Long Island Rail Road has a depot right across from Citi Field,the former site of Shea Stadium.

Dennis Levittown NY

Chuck said...

I love it - no less than FIVE sets of giant drupelets in Picture Two!

Bill Cotter said...

In photo #1, the photographer was on a set of stairs that led to the top most level of a two-story observation tower.

In photo #2, the building in question was a subway car maintenance shop located between the fair site and Shea Stadium.

Great shots! Keep them coming!

Bill Cotter said...

A correction to #2. The New Jersey Pavilion is in the lower left. New England States is the group of hexagonal buildings above it.

I'm writing a new book on the fair for Arcadia Publishing (the third one, but this time in color!) and I just finished the chapter that has views like these. They never get old though! Thanks for posting them.


Unknown said...

Never been to the NY World's Fair grounds, but from pictures it's sad to see the once beautiful New York Pavilion now. The giant mosaic map (by Texaco?) on the floor looks to be in especially sorry shape. I guess there's a preservation effort trying to raise money to fix the Pavilion up... hope they succeed. A shame it was left to deteriorate so badly.
--Mike Douglas

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Douglas, I know nothing about terrazzo, but my guess is that the giant map would have to be completely redone. It is a mess!