Tuesday, December 02, 2014

'64 World's Fair - Belgian Village

Over many months, I have scanned lots of slides from the New York World's Fair. And I'd post some on occasion; but man, it sure seems like I have a lot of photos taken from the wonderful Belgian Village - the largest pavilion at the Fair. I kept not posting those, until I had a backlog. So this is what is known as an "image dump". 10 photos for the price of one!

Crowds of New Yorkers in somber grays and blacks mill about, taking in the amazingly detailed faux medieval buildings. No wonder so many pictures were taken there - I'm sure this could easily fool the average person if you told them that this really was Belgium.

Cobblestone streets and everything! My taste leans more toward the "World of Tomorrow" stuff, but I'm sure I would have enjoyed this if I had seen it in person.

Each building was actually constructed from Belgian waffles. A fun fact! (Babushka alert).

Now there's a costume that makes a statement! I found that they were listed as the "Gille Dancers"; "Four times each day gaudily dressed clowns wearing wooden shoes, ostrich feather headdresses and bells dance through the streets, accompanied by drums and brass instruments. The Gilles hark back to 1540, when Belgium was ruled by Spain, and the conquistador's triumph over Peruvian Indians was celebrated at Mardi Gras". Now you know!

That guy in white (smoking the cigarette) looks trés European. In the distance, the Goodrich Blimp! (I know, I know…)

I wonder if you could go inside all of the buildings? There's a bunch of them.

They would never recreate those winding, uneven streets these days. Notice the realistic patches to the façade of that one building… the "new" bits contrasting with the rest, stained with centuries of soot.

Yay, a carousel, dating back to 1898. That's old!

Another scene….

… and one more. I wish I could say that today's post used up all of my Belgian Village photos, but I can't. There are plenty more. Maybe I'll just skip them.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Belgian Village at the New York World's Fair!


Nanook said...


That's quite the Village - and vey authentic-looking in these views.

And those "headdresses"- they look like giant 'arrangements' of cotton candy. Wouldn't that be a fun job-?

Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Wow, interesting shots. And a babushka in almost every picture.
Belgian Babushka Village Tuesday.

Chuck said...

I like waffles. And Belgians. But together? Oh, MAN...

Anonymous said...

I loved Belgium. Visited Bruges and Brussels some years ago. These definitely give the feel.

Now I want frites with mayonnaise. (no ketchup on your fries over there)


dennis said...

I remember a movie was filmed at the Belgian Village right after the Fair closed. It was used as a stand-in for a European town.

Melissa said...

Crazy - I was just belting out Jacques Brel songs in the shower a few minutes ago.

Nancy said...

interesting that no one mentioned the blimp (unless I can no longer read)....all the historic images and then a dash of the future!

this little village is beautiful and I want to live there!!

my favorite image is the one with the windy footbridge. I for one am looking forward to more pictures. :-)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I'm sure those Gille Dancers were always being pestered by kids who wanted to eat their hats!

Alonzo, I should just go ahead and start a babushka-based blog!

Chuck, do you happen to know the Monty Python sketch about finding an insulting epithet for Belgians? It's awesome!

JG, as a kid the idea of mayo and fries sounded gross. Until I tried it! The version I tried had some kind of chile mayo, it was so good.

dennis, I wish I knew what that movie was!

Melissa, I don't know any Jacques Brel songs (though I have heard of him), so I have no point of reference.

Nancy, I mentioned the blimp!!

Melissa said...

Major, inspired by these lovely Belgian Village pictures, I put together a little playlist of Jacques Brel songs to go with them. He wrote a number of songs about Belgian identity and small-town life, but as an expat, cynic, and lifelong rebel some of them tended to be rather sad, angry, or bitter. I;ve left those off the list, because the pictures are all about the pretty and happy.

La Bière (Beer)
Le Plat Pays (The Flat Land)
Mon Père Disait (My Father Used to Say) (video at separate site)
Bruxelles (Brussels)
C'est Comme Ça (That's How It Is)
Il neige sur Liège (It snows on Liège)

The English trans;ations at that sote aren't the greatest, and don't do justice to Brel's original poetry, but it was the only site I could find that had the French and English, plus audio or video, all on the same page.

The church in the sixth picture makes me think of the line in "Le plat Pays" that says the cathedrals are the only moutains in the country. And the sort of step-pyramid shaped façades we see in a lot of the pictures, typical of Flemish and Dutch architecture and brought over to New Amsterdam by 17th-centure colonists, remind me of Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom.

I meant to post this later on Tuesday, but it's been a salope of a week.