Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1964 New York World's Fair

While my supply of slides from the 1964 New York World's Fair is dwindling, I was very happy to find almost 100 of them in a box that I'd completely forgotten about. So... hooray! There's nothing super unusual in the batch, but I'll take 'em. 

I'll start with this shot of the New York Pavilion with its "flying saucer" observation decks. This structure still exists, though it is crumbling. Hard working fans are doing their best to bring the pavilion back to some semblance of its former glory.

We're looking up the Avenue of United Nations (South), with the Missouri pavilion in front of us, along with an impressive avenue of flags. The partly-obscured white dome is the "igloo" from the Alaska pavilion. 

Next is the impressive Port Authority building, which had a helipad on the roof. Which is pretty cool! I'm not sure if "Brutalist" accurately defines the architectural style of this building, but it seems apt to me. You could go to the "Top of the Fair" restaurant and cocktail lounge, which sounds pretty sweet to me. This building can also still be seen, and it is apparently used as an event space.

The colorful objects in the foreground are all part of the Chrysler pavilion.

And finally we have this hazy view of the Travel and Transportation building with its fun, cratered moon dome (which housed an 18 minute Cinerama film). To our left is the U.S. Rubber Ferris wheel, and those strange hoops with cloth ribbons hanging from them are part of the Lowenbrau Gardens. In the distance the giant canopy fa├žade of GM's "Futurama" can be seen, with the Chrysler pavilion to our right.

Stay tuned for more photos from the New York World's Fair!


Debbie V. said...

Look at those light fixtures in the last picture! I'd love to see them lit up at night.
So much to see here.

Scott Lane said...

Professor: "Good news, everybody! GM had an exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair all about US!"

Zoidberg: "Yay us!"

Leela: "That's impossible! Our cartoon wouldn't even premiere for almost 40 years."

Fry: "Yeah, Professor. Pretty sure it was all about fantastic ideas that would never get built. Not about us."

Professor: "Oh drat! Are you sure?"

Fry and Leela nodding.
Leela: "Pretty sure."

Professor: "Hmm........Good news, everybody! We're going to go back in time and burn that pavilion to the ground!"

Zoidberg: "Yay us!"

Chuck said...

Will they run into the Flintstones while they're there? Now THAT would be something to see...

K. Martinez said...

The Port Authority building looks like something out of the 1958 film "Kronos". An alien object has landed on earth and is sucking the life force out of the planet with its prongs. Nice NYWF set today. Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

LUMINAIRES! Sorry for shouting so early... but yay! Heck with Super Sugar Crisp, I can't get enough of those Luminaires.

I wonder how many people who attended the fair used their color coding as a guide to find their way around? Probably none.

Great pics! Thanks for sharing, as always.

Debbie V. said...

Tom - which are the luminaires? the round globes?

Unknown said...

Well, you can tell the slides are authentic because I know from watching the documentary "Men in Black" that at least one of those "flying saucers" ended up over at Shea Stadium and was probably bulldozed right into the foundations for CitiField (the Mets' new stadium.)

Anonymous said...

Major, I think Brutalism as a distinct style didn't really get going until a few years after this fair, in the late '60's, but the examples here are certainly leaning in that direction.

Thanks for the fun pics.


Anonymous said...

@Debbie V, yes, the globes on sticks are luminaires (fancy word for light fixtures). It's a code word on GDB for "serious lights".



Debbie V. said...

I love light fixtures! I have no idea why except they are pretty. The globes are also a favorite of mine.

Major Pepperidge said...

Debbie V, I do have a few night shots in which you can see similar light fixtures, all lit up! Just do a search (in the upper left corner) for “World’s Fair” and you’ll see some.

Scott Lane, this makes me think of the episode in which they go back in time and Professor Farnsworth wears a zoot suit - because that’s what we all wore in the 20th century!

Chuck, if I wasn’t so darn lazy, I would scan the entire “Flintstones Go to the World’s Fair” comic book! Maybe someday.

K. Martinez, jeez, I’m not aware of “Kronos”, but it sounds kind of interesting in a “Monolith Monsters” kind of way.

Tom, yep, I sure love those luminaires. I need several of them (not just one).

Debbie V. the luminaires are the boxy multicolored lights in the last photo - they were made in a wide variety of shapes and colors throughout the Fair.

Patrick Devlin, as far as I’m concerned, “Men in Black” is a documentary.

JG, I had to look it up (ask Mr. Wikipedia!)… they claim that Brutalist architecture started in the 1950’s, though you are probably right, it might not have really become a common thing until later in the 60’s and into the 70’s.

JG, is “luminaires” actually a sort of generic term for “light fixture” or lamp? I always thought it specifically referred to the boxy lamps at the Fair. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m mistaken, however.

Debbie V., a lot of people are fans of the luminaires - a few lucky people have managed to acquire old ones from the Fair (which wound up in parks all over the country afterwards). If I had the skill, I would build my own scaled-down version - the originals are HUGE (like a small car), and they were wired for sound too (the upside-down pyramid just below the lights).

Debbie V. said...

Okay seriously, someone needs to blog more about luminaires. Or does that exist already?

Chuck said...

Major, at least part of that comic is already out there: http://www.imagineeringdisney.com/blog/2014/4/12/the-flintstones-at-the-new-york-worlds-fair.html

Debbie V., you can find more about the luminaires at the following sites:




https://www.facebook.com/doug.drexler.7/media_set?set=a.10152492738016104.1073742134.570346103&type=3 (must be logged in to facbook to see)

Debbie V. said...

Chuck - thank you for those great links. How awesome are these things? And they were huge. And there are others.
A little light bulb went on (no pun intended). So THIS is what you guys are talking about - the once in a lifetime 1965 NY World's Fair.
I'm so jazzed. It's like a whole new world for me. I know it's always been there, I just didn't see the beauty of it.
(Kind of like when I went to my first art gallery in Indianapolis a few months ago. How can I be this old and not see how wonderful some art is? )
I have a lot to learn.
And PEOPLE did this.

Anonymous said...

More Worlds Fair pictures,please!
Dennis,Levittown NY

Debbie V. said...

Oops I mean 1964. I was 13-ish.

Major Pepperidge said...

Debbie V, Chuck has some great links in his comment, but I would also recommend Googling “luminaires” using Google’s image search, you’ll find some interesting stuff.

Chuck, thanks for all the links!

Debbie V., the ’64 Fair was a pretty fascinating place - it seems to have been the last gasp of a general optimism, or at least the appearance of optimism put forth by large corporations! So much creativity and MONEY was put into that Fair, resulting in some truly amazing exhibits - I wish I could have seen it.

Dennis, there’s more to come!

Debbie V, I knew what you meant.

Anonymous said...

Hello Major and Debbie V, yes the term "luminaire" is a sort-of design profession jargon for light fixtures, distinguished primarily by location of use, interior or exterior are the primary categories. I don't know why we use a ten-dollar word when "light fixture" works fine, but that's the architecture biz for you. It seemed to start with outdoor lights, especially pole mounted ones, so your idea makes sense too. I have several projects recently where all the inside lights were referred collectively as "luminaires". Also often mis-spelled "luminaries".

Re: Brutalism, I won't argue with the authorities. I was just thinking of some examples that I personally consider to be most brutalist in style and those were mid-60's and forward. It's all subjective and personal. Google "Paul Rudolph".

As with most architectural styles, there were some visionaries who did a thing and then over the next few years everyone else imitated that thing, according to their variable skills, and voila, a style was born. Then a name is affixed by historians who look backward into the past and decide that this or that forerunner was an exemplar. "Sea Ranch" is another similar example. Many hideous runner-ups to a few brilliant originals.

I've done research in firms for designers who wanted to do "what was hot in the mags" (magazines), so they could start there.

Once I worked on a building that looked like the nephew of the Port Authority building in today's post, and it wasn't finished until 1982. These styles can have long lives.

Thank you for a fascinating post.


walterworld said...

That Transit building is Brutalist for sure...although that lower circle deck does soften things up a bit.

And that sculpture seen in the last pic that looks like an aircraft soaring off into space is still in place at Flushing Meadows! One of a few sculpture pieces that weren't dispersed elsewhere..

Thank You Major

Bill Cotter said...

More on the luminaires than you would ever want to know, including a chart of all the configurations, colors, and locations, available on my site at http://www.worldsfairphotos.com/nywf64/luminaires.htm