Saturday, December 23, 2017

New York World's Fair, July 1964

New York City does a lot of things well, but one thing they have done really well (twice) is World's Fairs. I would give my entire collection of porcelain thimbles from the Franklin Mint to go back in time and see either one of them with my own eyes. That's how serious I am! (I would not give away my Hummel figurines however - let's not even discuss that crazy idea).

All three of today's photos were taken on a rainy summer day - June or July, most likely. Folks aren't carrying umbrellas or rain coats, so they must have been fairly confident that the precipitation had ended. In this first image, the impressive Republic of China pavilion looms; the official guidebook says, "The opulent red and gold pavilion is a reproduction of a traditional imperial palace - the first of its kind ... ever erected in the Western hemisphere. Within the structure are exhibits of ancient and modern Chinese culture, and many rare and beautiful objects". 

The Sky Ride moves back and forth overhead, 

Next up is this neat shot of the area near the Mormon Church pavilion (with a scaled-down replica of the temple in Salt Lake City). It's cool, but I love all of the other stuff going on. First of all, check out those wonderful luminaires - these are particularly large examples (they were built in many sizes, colors, and configurations). Or how about the line of phone booths to the far right? I also love the ticket stands for the "Oregon Timber Carnival" and "To Broadway With Love". Did somebody say show tunes?! 

And finally, here's a cool photo of guests as they go to (and from) the brand-new Shea Stadium (having opened on April 17th of that year). It was the home of the Mets and the Jets, of course, and was also the site of two famous Beatles concerts in August of 1965. I love the colorful flags (presumably just random graphics and not flags of nations?), as well as the blue and orange steel panels on the outside of the stadium - very mid-century modern.

Shea Stadium was demolished over a period of several months, and was gone for good in February of 2009.

I will be out of town starting today... as always, there will be new posts for you while I'm gone, and I'll try to check in on the comments when I can.


Nanook said...


It's always great to see images from this wonderful fair. Nice too, to see in the 2nd image a gal, walking about center stage, wearing a nice white bow in the front of her hairdo. And in the 3rd, a lovely babushka.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The Mormon Temple replica reminds me of when I was a little child and we lived in Oakland just up the hill from Lake Merritt. One day on our deck, I spotted the Mormon Temple in the far distance and was convinced it was Sleeping Beauty Castle so I asked my mother how come it took so long to get to Disneyland when it was right there. She spent quite some time explaining to me that it was the Mormon Temple grounds and not Disneyland. Of course I was disappointed.

All three NYWF '64 pics awesome! Thanks, Major.

Nanook, How on earth did you spot that tiny white bow? It's so tiny, almost microscopic. I had to look hard for that one.

Dean Finder said...

The luminaries were modular - the cubes could be assembled into any number of combinations. They were huge - I have a single restored cube in my house and I can't imagine how people install a full assembly in their houses
You can find the fair corporations manual for configuring luminaries here:

Melissa said...

I'm always excited when “New York World's Fair” is in the headline. And these pictures totally live up to the excitement!

Does anyone know what the building off to the left of the Chinese palace is? It looks like something from the Punshine Pavilion in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland.

I've always loved those souvenir hats with the tall red feather. And how odd that that lady’s multi-colored panel skirt should show up front and center today; I was just looking through my fabric odds and ends this morning and decided to make myself one to use them up.

Those guys from the Oregon Timber Carnival are a bunch of saps.

Picture #3, right behind the lady whose purse looks like a mailbox - bonus babushka!

Happy travels, Major;
Hope you enjoy your trip.
Come home safe & sound & soon,
-- Your Loyal Readership

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, funny, I thought that the “white bow” was just the reflection off of a pair of sunglasses resting on top of the girl’s head. Maybe people didn’t do that back then!

K. Martinez, ha, that must have been frustrating. “Disneyland is RIGHT THERE!”. When I was a kid in Huntington Beach, we could climb the bleachers at the local high school and see Disneyland’s fireworks - teeny tiny, very far away, but it was maddening knowing that lots of people were having so much fun while I got to go maybe twice a year.

Dean Finder, I still think there would be a market for reduced-scale Luminaires - quarter scale or something like that. Maybe I’m nuts?!

OK everybody, I managed to check in early, but I'm about to hit the road. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, before I go.... I believe that the building in question might be the Caribbean pavilion, though I don't have time to look it up. Some smart person will correct me!

dennis said...

That wooden walkway in picture #3 still exists, linking the Long Island Railroad station with present day Citi Field. Major, sign me up for a reduced scale Luminaire. I think it's a great idea. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all GDB readers! Dennis, Levittown,Long Island, NY

Anonymous said...

Major...I grew up in Costa Mesa, next to you. While one can't easily see the fireworks from that distance these days, when the conditions are right, you can still hear the 'booms' echoing at night. Sure brings back the memories. Happy Holidays to all!! KS

Dean Finder said...

You are correct - that's the Caribbean Pavilion in the background

Melissa said...

No wonder it looks like the Sunshine Pavilion and Caribbean Plaza. Thanks, guys!