Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Fabulous New York World's Fair

I have a nice selection of random images from the 1964 New York World's Fair for you today! 

Let's start with this postcard-worthy shot of the Formica pavilion, featuring the "Formica World's Fair House", which, the souvenir guidebook tells us is "...situated on the only hill at the Fair". This lovely mid-century home was "the first house to use Formica-laminated plastic on exterior walls. Its seven-room interior includes an indoor barbecue pit and natural illumination from skylights. Formica products are used throughout - on furniture, cabinets and interior walls, with contemporary styling". 

I wish everything was made of Formica!

The giant steel Unisphere would be behind us in this view of fountain-lined pools (flanked by the Hoover and Eisenhower Promenades). Gondolas from the Sky Ride are way, way up above us! In the dead center is a statue called "Rocket Thrower", by sculptor Donald De Lue (appropriately place in a court called "The Astronauts"). It's still there today! In the distance is the Bell System pavilion.

Check out this beautiful photo of the Ford pavilion, featuring the "Magic Skyway" ride, created by Walt Disney and his Imagineers. Guests boarded the latest Ford automobiles for a journey that included views of the "dawn of life on earth" (dinosaurs and cave men), and then a glimpse into the Space Age. As many of you know, the ride system was essentially the same one that would be used for Disneyland's "Peoplemover" a few years later. 

And finally, this lady looks a little frazzled; perhaps this photo was taken near the end of a long day of fair-going. Having fun is hard work.

Behind the woman is the spiky Astral Fountain; the cylindrical "cage" rotated (at 2 feet per second), while 40 jets shot water 70 feet into the air. Also inside the cylinder were 50 radioactive monkeys (one for each State). Don't worry, they wore diapers.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the New York World's Fair!


Nanook said...

"...the first house to use Formica-laminated plastic on exterior walls..." Well, all I can say is I certainly hope the Formica folks chose a Formica pattern that used color impregnated all the way through the sheets - otherwise I can just imagine how poorly it would "wear".

And the Ford pavilion is as beautiful as that woman appears to be tired.

Thanks, Major.


I loved the Disneyland and Walt Disney World SKYWAY - but I don’t think I’d be comfortable on the NYWF SKYRIDE ...... it’s WAY too high in the sky ...

That Ford Wonder Rotunda is a Mid Century MASTERPIECE!!! In San Diego (La Mesa/Grosmont) is a Ford dealership that is a smaller scale copy of the Ford Pavilion rotunda . I hope it’s safe from demolition . As a kid I remember one time having dinner at Sir George’s Smorgasbord and then my parents looking at cars inside this NYWF inspired car dealership — there were planters inside with colored lighting that made me think of Disneyland - at that age I had no knowledge of the buildings connection to the fair or Disney.

WaltsMusic said...

Mike Cozart...I grew up in Chula Vista. We also had a Sir George's Smorgasbord! Loved that place. I saw the FB post for save the Ford dealership. Hope it happens. I remember seeing it also and had no knowledge at that time about the NYWF. Now I want to go back and check it out next time I go home to SD. Hope it is still there.

Patrick Devlin said...

I'm looking, but unless the radioactive monkeys are star-shaped I'm just not seeing them.

That's a cool shot of the Ford pavilion and I surely never knew that the cars came out of the main building into those enclosed loops. And a reference worthy view of a luminaire right in the center, too.

Thanks, as always Madge, er, I mean Maj.

Melissa said...

Doubleplusgood Saturday post!

For those of you playing along with Melissa's Peoplewatching Bingo at home, check off three Squares on picture #2 for babushka, stripey kids, and cameras pointed at us. I guess the cameras are expected, given the location. But it means that somewhere out there, there were pictures of the person who took this picture, taking this picture!

Melissa said...

The two background ladies in the last picture don't exactly look like they're about to break into a chorus of, "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," themselves. Kind of looks like one of those cold, wet, windy New York afternoons that are so lively when you're inside with a nice, hit cup of something.

The tower us amazing; it looks like a hundred origami stars!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I had the same idea - Formica doesn’t seem like it would hold up to the elements for very long. Aluminum siding though… now that’s the ticket!

Mike Cozart, I only became aware of that Ford dealership from Charles Phoenix’s latest book. Like you, I hope it does not get torn down, though it seems like we are losing so many landmarks lately. I’ve never heard of Sir George’s Smorgasbord! Sounds very 70’s.

WaltsMusic, I’ll have to look up Sir George’s - somehow I imagine a playful medieval theme restaurant crossed with Ferrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Patrick Devlin, I forgot to mention that the radioactivity rendered the monkeys invisible. That Ford pavilion is very striking, especially at night! I should have noticed the luminaire, but for some reason it isn’t on…

Melissa, wow, you really had to squint to see all of those people, they’re so far away. When you mentioned the pictures of someone taking a picture, the “E-Ticket” magazine had an amazing pair of photos from Disneyland’s opening day. One had a ground view of Walt in a car, waving at the people on Main Street, and you could see somebody on top of one of the nearby buildings. Then they had another view from the top of the building looking down, and Walt’s pose is identical.

Melissa, it does look like it might be less than idea, weather-wise; I’m not sure what would be worse, cold and wind, or a hot, humid New York summer.

Dean Finder said...

I think the luminary is off because it's still early, just heavy skies making it dark.

There are street signs in the Formica house picture, attached to the light poles. I've never noticed those before - I wonder if they were all around the Fair, or just here to add to the residential feel of the house.

Melissa said...

The weather us what makes us New Yorkers so &#$+©% cheerful and friendly, ÷\&+ it!

Major Pepperidge said...

Dean Finder, I thought the same thing, but… the outer lights are illuminating the Ford pavilion, so it seems like it must have already been getting dark to some degree. Film fool the eye, though.

Melissa, for the most part, I have been impressed with the friendliness of people in NYC! Every once in a while I’ve run into a sourpuss, but not as much as one might expect if TV shows were to be believed.

Melissa said...

One indulges in exaggeration for comic purposes.

Tom said...

Luminaire alert! Pattern 24-F-E-A according to the configurations guide. White, green and chartreuse. I hope the Formica inside didn't clash with those colors outside!