Saturday, December 10, 2016

1964 New York World's Fair

Hey! Let's go back to July, 1964 to visit the New York World's Fair! What, you have something better to do?

I always love shots of the wonderful Tower of the Four Winds, outside of "It's a Small World" (sponsored by Unicef and Pepsi Cola). In spite of the overcast sky, it was probably hot and humid.  The luminaires are red, white and blue in this area, and they look great. Notice the Kodak Picture Spot sign - just like Disneyland.

In order to get to General Motors' "Futurama" (the most popular exhibit at the Fair), guests had to cross a bridge that spanned the Grand Central Parkway. On the other side one would have found the pavilions sponsored by Ford (the "Magic Skyway"), Chrysler, Sinclair Oil's "Dinoland", U.S. Rubber (the Ferris Wheel that looked like a giant tire), the Antique Auto ride, and more. Well worth the walk!

It might surprise folks to learn that the Vatican's pavilion had some of the highest attendance during the run of the Fair. The biggest draw was Michelangelo's "Pieta"; even now I can't believe that they risked transporting that priceless work of art across the Atlantic, but what the Vatican wants, the Vatican gets. 

I'll have more images from the Fair in many future posts!


Nanook said...


Love these images of the Fair. I'm not certain what to make of the two ladies front and center in the first image, but they strike me as 'hard boiled dolls'. And as far as the Vatican is concerned, they, just as Lola, get what they want-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I like the starburst thingies that are on top of the lampposts in that last pic. They appear to match the stars on the Astral Fountain on the far right.

And I think I can see someone with a hammer entering the Vatican pavilion. I bet the Vatican regretted sending that priceless piece of artwork over here, even if it was a smashing success with guests.

I can never get enough of this Fair, Major. Thanks for these pics. Looking forward to more!

K. Martinez said...

That is one big purse/bag the woman is carrying in the "Tower of the Four Winds" image. Guess she wanted to get as much NYWF loot as she could while visiting the Fair.

Love the architectural style of the General Motors exhibit building. What a beauty that is. Glad to hear there are more Fair images coming in many future posts. Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane said...

Like the old Depeche Mode song says, "Just Can't Get Enough"! Thanks, Maj!

Unknown said...

Great shots today. I am sorry I missed this all even fifty years down the line line. Time is nothing if not funny.

I remember getting loads of history on the Pietá when in Catholic grade school. Those nuns loved their conventional art history. And, for what it's worth, TM!, the statue wasn't damaged at the fair but rather later after it had been returned to the Vatican. Twelve years of Catholic school and not for nothing!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think those ladies are just trying to survive the New York summer humidity! It’s interesting to know that Disney wanted to get Michelangelo’s “David” to the U.S. for EPCOT many years later and the answer was “no”. Maybe if Walt had been alive?

TokyoMagic!, as far as I know the starburst thingies are unique to that Vatican Pavilion area. I see that Patrick Devlin has already made the point about the hammer-wielding idiot that I was going to make, so I’ll leave it to Patrick!

K. Martinez, that lady reminds me of the people that one sees walking around the city with a “rolly” suitcase - it’s something they take everywhere with them, every day.

Scott Lane, I need to do more Depeche Mode-themed posts! “Master and Servant”??

Patrick Devlin, this was really the last great U.S. World’s Fair - I sure wish I could have experienced it. The Pietá is so incredible, especially when one considers that Michelangelo was a mere 24 years old when he did it. Now the sculpture is behind bulletproof glass…

TokyoMagic! said...

Patrick, Wow...thank you for clearing that up! All these years I thought the damage had occurred while it was on view at the Fair. So the world can't blame us Americans for that! They can blame us for a lot of other things, but not that! I just looked it up and I also didn't realize how extensive the damage was. The guy removed Mary's left arm at the elbow and knocked off her nose. Sad!

Nancy said...

These are "MAJOR" views.....gorgeous image of the Vatican Pavilion, and I have not seen this angle on the GM Pavilion before (my favorite building at the Fair). I love the fountain with that fancy star-like design on whatever that structure is there in the middle. This is the first time I have ever noticed the stars on top of the lights here in this area…..its like Christmas decorations. It must have been gorgeous at twilight. :-D

How cool it would have been to see artwork from Rome. I dont find it surprising that this was such a popular exhibit. I was only a kid in the 60s, but I went to Catholic school for my first 5 years and I always think of then as a time when religion was so much more emphasized than it is nowadays.

Having finally been there, it pains me even more that all of these wonderful places were just torn down and basically forgotten :*(

Dean Finder said...

I read somewhere that a replica Pieta was shipped first to test the shipping materials to ensure that it would not be damaged in transit.
According to pavilion materials on, the carrier was designed to release itself and float to the surface of the ocean and light a buoy if the ship sank.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, yeah, that dummy really did a number on that sculpture. I was surprised to read that some of the fingers had been broken off as far back as the 1700’s during a move. Another sculptor made replacements, but there is some doubt as to whether the hand makes the same gesture now.

Nancy, the GM building is as good as any if you had to pick a favorite. But I would have a hard time choosing just one!

Dean Finder, sure, that’s all well and good, but there were NO precautions taken in case of kraken attack.

dennis said...

I am sure that one day I will see myself as a little kid walking around the fair with my family in one of these pictures. I'll let you know when I see myself! Dennis, Levittown NY