Thursday, November 19, 2015

1964 New York World's Fair - Eastman Kodak Pavilion

Today I have some wonderful nighttime photos of the Eastman Kodak pavilion from the 1964 New York World's Fair. 

First up is this picture of the famous 80 foot-tall "Picture Tower" (resembling a giant flash cube - except that this had five sides);  the photos were 30 feet high and 35 feet wide, and were not backlit, as one might think. Instead, they were prints (changed every 4 weeks) lit with powerful xenon lamps. So powerful that this photo of a Native American is blown out (and this is after some Photoshop help). Still, the overall colors in this early-evening image are warm and lovely.

Overhead is the "moondeck", where guests could stroll along undulating pathways for some striking views of the Fair. Beneath a circular hole is a fountain, with "rain" falling from the deck above into the pool in front of us. In the pool were seven metal-rod "dandelions", designed by sculptor Harry Bertoia. 

In 2013 a single 75-inch tall dandelion sold at auction for $152,500, while others have gone for over $500,000. Wow! They do look great... modern, abstract yet organic, light and airy, and playful.


Nanook said...


These are some wonderful images. And those golden dandelions are so beautiful, for all the reasons you stated. I think in my next house I'll have them flanking the long covered walkway connecting my porte cochere with the front entry.

Thanks, Major.

Unknown said...

Wow. Flashcubes. Hadn't thought about those in a few years.

Chuck said...

These are great. Never realized that the Picture Tower had 5 sides. Or that the Fair wasn't blurry after dark.

K. Martinez said...

Love the image of the fountain area below the "moon deck". The perfect place to take a break from the constant walking around the fair and reflect on the wondrous experiences of that day.

Anonymous said...

Bertoia was a genius. His wire chairs are still available in catalogs. I used to sit in them at my university union during lunch hour.

Prolonged sitting results in "waffle butt", but the chairs are spectacular sculpture to behold.

Come to think of it, an uncomfortable chair provokes sitters to move along and not linger, not always a bad thing for some locations.

I have never seen the dandelions before, beautiful stuff, Major.


Nanook said...


It's certainly possible Kodak had an inkling of what the Flashcube was to be, but for the opening of the 1964 World's Fair, it does seem a bit premature. A short article from the Chicago Tribune, dated July 10, 1965, describes the introduction by Sylvania & Eastman Kodak on July 9th, at a Sylvania product introduction. And according to Sylvania: " represents one of the greatest technical breakthroughs in photographic lighting in more than 35 years". (If they say so themselves-!)

dennis said...

The rooftop moonscape cast interesting shadows during the day, to challenge aspiring photographers to take unique pictures. But as a typical kid, I liked running around up there making believe I was on the moon! Dennis - Levittown, Long Island

K. Martinez said...

@Dennis, so you were actually there? That is awesome! There's only one person I know personally who went to the 1964 NYWF and I was fascinated by her stories of visits and her friend who worked there.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I feel like I need to post more ’64 NYWF images… I still have 100 or so, and a few of them are quite nice!

Patrick, when I was a kid my brother and I would raid my mom’s flashcube stash. We discovered that you could trigger them with a toothpick. My poor mom never had a flashcube that worked when she needed one!

Chuck, yeah, it’s hard to tell from the ground that the tower isn’t just a cube.

K. Martinez, it really does look pretty there, and any fountain would be a nice place to sit and relax… but this one is especially good.

JG, I always think it’s interesting when a designer can do industrial design (such as chairs or other furniture) and also do world-class sculptures.

Nanook, if they announced the flashcube in 1965, I would imagine that the company had been working on them for a while. Not only did they have to design the cube, but make cameras that used the things. But it might just be a coincidence that the tower looks like one.

dennis, I am jealous!

K. Martinez, I don’t personally know ANYONE who was at the ’64 NYWF. There is a short documentary that I saw just a month or two ago, featuring interviews with people who attended the 1939 Fair. They were all still very spry and sharp. Amazing.

Nancy said...

Beautiful evening colors! :-) You know how I feel about this Fair.

Always appreciate your views and wonderful commentary, Major. Thanks as always! :-)