Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New York World's Fair Panoramas, 1965

I recently found some strange-looking slides from the New York World's Fair, probably taken from around the Fair's end (it closed in October of 1965).

They all have a kind of slightly-foggy appearance… it reminds me of the way things look after I've been swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool for some time. But it doesn't necessarily ruin the images. Another thing is that they were taken from the top of the Port Authority building. I have many hundreds of slides from the '64-'65 Fair, but I believe that these are the only examples taken from this vantage point!

Here's the first view, looking down on the Chrysler pavilion's giant "one million horsepower" engine. Notice the US Rubber tire-shaped Ferris Wheel, seen edge-on. And of course the entire rest of the Fair is laid out in the distance, including the wonderful Unisphere.

Panning just a bit to the right, there's the large Transportation and Travel pavilion, including the iconic moon dome. The New York State pavilion with its two observation towers is just beyond. 

SO… just for funsies I decided to see if Photoshop could stitch these two images together, and by gum, it did a pretty good job! I could have cropped off the odd edges, but I like the way they look. Otherwise, you'd never know that this was actually two separate photos that had been magically joined. Photoshop's "photo merge" gets all the credit, I hardly had to do anything.

The next slide looks mostly down upon the distinctive angular building that housed the Chrysler puppet show performed by Bil Baird. In 1964 this building was primarily white, but it got a startling new paint job for the Fair's second season.

Now panning to our left, we see the "world's biggest car", at 80 feet long and 50 feet wide. In the background, the skeletal rotunda of the Ford pavilion is to our left, while the boxy U.S. pavilion is to our right. Shea Stadium is just above the Ford building.

And once again, I used Photoshop to merge the two photos into a single image. Pretty slick, no? Technology is our friend (except when it isn't).

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the top of the Port Authority building at the New York World's Fair!


Nanook said...


Unusual images from the Fair. And your "stitching" jobs are quite the thing. They're enough to make a Cinerama print blush-!

Thanks, Major.

Nancy said...

Great shots!! A special woo-hoo to our own Major Pepperidge for bringing us two excellent bonus images by virtue of his Photoshopping skills! The Wizard would have had a special award for you!

Again, makes me so sorry I did not see this wonderful event in person. As a bonus for me, any image of Shea is welcome, reminds me very much of our own beloved Three Rivers Stadium here in Pittsburgh (torn down in 2000) :(

Thanks for the smiles this morning!! :-)

Melissa said...

Beautiful, beautiful! It truly was a dreamscape.

K. Martinez said...

How cool! In the first image I can see the Sinclair Dinosaur exhibit just to the left of the US Rubber giant Royal Tire wheel.

Some of the light fixtures that are clustered together in double lines look like giant white ball head pins.

Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I have seen a lot of photos of the world's fair on this and other websites. Great unique angles on this shots. Nice post.

If Chicago had a World's Fair again do you think they would have a US Rubber tire-shaped Ferris Bueller?

Tom said...

Beautiful! Wonderful shots of the fair from an unusual vantage point and great job doing the photo stitching!

Is that the Ford Magic Skyway just behind the world's biggest car?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yeah, the stitching thing is fun when it works!

Nancy, I think I have a vintage slide of Three Rivers Stadium, I need to scan it for you.

Melissa, I keep wondering how many days one would actually need to explore that Fair thoroughly.

K. Martinez, yep there are the dinos; and now that you've pointed out the lamps that look like pins, I can almost imagine these being photos of an extremely high-quality model.

Alonzo, I don't even want to know what the rubber Ferris Bueller ride would be!

Tom, yes that's the Ford pavilion, with Walt's "Magic Skyway"!

Snow White Archive said...

You gotta love photoshop. I really like the moon dome. Cities should have more buildings like that.

dennis said...

Great to see more Worlds Fair photos! I was afraid you forgot about us 64-65 Worlds Fair fans! - Dennis levittown NY

Dean Finder said...

Does anyone know what those structures with the cone of white spheres are?
You can see one directly above the Chrysler Theatre, and a bunch more in the background,

Major Pepperidge said...

Snow White Archive, I do love Photoshop! I use it every day. The most useful program ever (for me)!

dennis, I haven't forgotten - in fact I have lots more to share.

Dean Finder, those inflatable structures (they look like clusters of insect eggs) were snack bars or "lunch bars" run by The Brass Rail, a restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Dean Finder said...

Well, I'll be damned. The Brass Rail in Hoboken was one of my favorite restaurants when I went to college there in the 90s. I never realized that it was the same Brass Rail mentioned in World's Fair essays - I figured it was just a coincidence of names.