Friday, August 04, 2017

'64 New York World's Fair at Night - September 1964

I love night photos of amusement parks and fairs; and the 1964 New York World's Fair was a dazzling feast for the eyes when the sun set and the lights came on.

The Unisphere was an impressive symbol of the Fair - heaven knows that every visitor took at least one photo of it. Imagine seeing it on a warm summer night, feeling the spray of the fountains, music playing in the background (the Fair had plenty of audio, all the time)... it must have been amazing.

The Africa pavilion featured a number of performances for guests, including "...tall, graceful Watusi men from Rwanda perform spirited dances and demonstrate their prowess at high-jumping. Burundi drummers and West African dancers also perform".  Another guide describes "...Zulu dancers and a Nigerian dance-and-drum troupe". Which version are we looking at?

This one's my favorite; a striking and well-composed shot of the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion. Magnifico! You get some choice views of some lit Luminaires, at no extra cost. I love the brightly lit bank of pay phones in the lower right - "Guess where I'm calling from, Mother? NO, not the local jail!".

I've seen photos of the pavilion of the Philippines before, but until now I never really thought about the fact that it looked like a hat. I wondered if it was just a coincidence, but the official guidebook says that it was indeed "...built in the shape of a salakot -- the wide-brimmed sun hat worn throughout the islands".  Shouldn't I win some sort of large cash prize for my observation?

I almost didn't bother to share this one, since the focus is a bit soft, but how often do you get to see the Tower of the Four Winds at night? In spite of the blur, you can tell that it was quite a sight.

I hope you have enjoyed these nighttime views of the World's Fair!


Scott Lane said...

Beautiful! That first picture is stunning. As a boy I always wished I could go but I was too young....:sigh:

DrGoat said...

The Seattle World's Fair was the only one we went to. I was 12. That's where I got those cool waxy busts of Lincoln from that cool machine.

K. Martinez said...

The first image is gorgeous. I love how the continents are lit and you can see the silhouettes of the fair goers against the lit fountains.

The triple observation towers are very much like "The Jetsons" futurism and that show ran 1962-63.

I'm glad you decided to share the "Tower of the Four Winds" photo with us. It's still interesting and we can get an idea of the lighting that was used to illuminate this attraction at night.

Thanks for the nighttime visit to the NYWF, Major.

Dean Finder said...

I suggest viewing the WF photos with real background music. Bill Cotter has kindly posted some tapes here.

Anonymous said...

Major, these are very cool. We went to the Seattle fair, but I was too young to remember more than a few images.

Went to the Spokane fair in 1974, that was a fun event, but it didn't seem to produce the buzz that the earlier fairs did.

Tower of the Four Winds FTW.


Tom said...

LUMINAIRE ALERT! I love those nighttime shots of the NYWF'64. All of these are great, but the one of the observation towers is my favorite too just for the Luminaires, to say nothing of the rest of the activity and the sparkling lights circling the tower decks.

Beautiful pictures!

K. Martinez said...

Dean Finder, Much thanks for that link. Lots of wonderful stuff there on that page from Bill Cotter's site. He always has lots of cool world's fair material.

Major Pepperidge said...

Scott Lane, yeah, I would have been a tiny baby, so that Fair was out for me. I still kid my mom about how she could have taken us to Woodstock!!

DrGoat, at least you got to see the Seattle Fair! I would have loved to go.

K. Martinez, you are right, there is a sort of “Jetsons” vibe to some of the Fair buildings. Maybe that’s why I love them so much. The old Walt Disney optimism, even in non-Disney pavilions.

Dean Finder, Bill Cotter is an amazing World’s Fair historian! I had lunch with him earlier in the year, it was fun just talking about the World’s Fair, photos, collecting, and everything else.

JG, I think the Spokane Fair was the first one I was truly aware of, because we got school magazines (was it the “Weekly Reader”??) with articles about it. Now it almost seems like a “forgotten fair”.

Tom, yes, photos like this just flame my desire for some miniature luminaires! Different configurations and color combos would look great, and the mid-century look is right in fashion.

K. Martinez, I somehow imagine Bill Cotter’s home piled high with dusty boxes full of amazing World’s Fair treasures.

dennis said...

Count me in for a miniature luminaire!
Dennis, Levittown, NY

Unknown said...

It's so nice after all the nice pictures of luminaires in the daylight ( and they were nice) to see them IN ACTION! A real treat, thanks.