Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Selection from the 1964 New York World's Fair

It seems like a good day to visit the 1964 World's Fair in New York, don't you think? Here are four scans for you.

First up is this view looking south along the Grand Central Parkway (probably taken from the "United Nations North" pedestrian overpass), with the wonderful US Royal Tires Ferris Wheel; behind that, the green dome of the moon, from the Travel and Transportation pavilion, and behind that, the gigantic angled canopy from General Motors' "Futurama".

Here's some kind of aerial tower ride, known as the "Aerial Tower Ride". Each of the "four elegantly upholstered gondolas, each with a capacity of 15, majestically rise on cables to the top of a 120-foot tower. The smooth, slow ride provides a magnificent view of the Fair and lasts three to five minutes".

I was hoping that it spun around at hundreds of miles per hour, but you can't have everything. Notice the sign for "Bel-Gem Waffles", served with combinations of powdered sugar, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries.

This too-dark photo shows the exterior of the Ford pavilion's "crown roast" rotunda, with late-model automobiles traveling through the hamster tubes as part of the "Magic Skyway" ride (from Walt Disney). Passing in front of the Ford Pavilion is a Greyhound Glide-a-ride tram. That's for me! My feet are sore.

And lastly, here's a view of the giant Port Authority building, with its helipad on the roof, and "Top of the Fair" restaurant (there was also a private dining club and a cocktail lounge). You could also watch a 13-minute film (on a giant circular screen) about "transportation projects that enable millions of people to move through the New York area daily". This building still stands, and is visible as you drive by on your way from JFK Airport to the city.


Nanook said...

One can never have too many views of this fair. I'm feeling very 'mid-century' all of a sudden.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Love your description/comments for the 2nd picture, Major! LOL! :o)


Melissa said...

I am in love with that waffle-faced chef logo on the sign in #2. And I would want to be in the gondola that passed right by the multicolor-paneled streetlight.

I've seen that Port Authori-T building, but didn't know it was a remnant of the Fair! How cool!

Andrew said...

Wow, everything about the 64-65 Fair would've been so neat to see in person, but these pictures still somewhat capture that joy of discovery. I had no idea that a highway passed right by it, for instance (although that makes perfect sense)!

Chuck said...

I think that final building suits its purpose to a "T".

I pass a large building each day that incorporates three giant "T's" into the architecture, two of them on the same side of the building. While it was under construction, I used to joke to my kids that it was the Midwest HQ for the Teen Titans.

K. Martinez said...

I'd love to see that giant U.S. Royal tire break free and roll down the highway. Thanks, Major.

HQ for the Teen Titans. That's a good one, Chuck.

DrGoat said...

The only World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition) I've ever been to was Seattle in '62. I remember going up in the needle and a vague memory of a performance by Josh White. Found out more about him later on. The thing I have the most vivid memory of was a machine that made wax busts of Abraham Lincoln, which I had to have. It lasted about a year back in Tucson. The only thing wrong about that trip was we didn't get to go to the Park.

dennis said...

When The Beatles played Shea Stadium, their helicopter landed on the helipad on the roof of the Port Authority building, and they were transported to Shea in a Brinks armored car. The truck driver gave them souvenir Brinks Sherrif badges, which they promptly put on. You can see them wearing them in footage and photos taken that night in that famous concert.
Dennis , Levittown NY

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love this.

The giant tire must have been the inspiration for the original Hot Wheels case.

This is a architect's paradise, everything is just over the top.

I passed the "T" building just a couple weeks ago on the way out of town. Next time, I will know the story. What club did you have to belong to in order to get in the top floor, seems like something I should know.

Thanks Major and everyone for comments.


dennis said...

Port Authority pavilion had a 1000 seat restaurant on the top floor call Top of the Fair. It's now a catering facility called Terrace on the Park.
Dennis, Levittown Long Island

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I have SO many NYWF slides! I guess I need to gas up my scanner and get to work for future Fair installments.

Lou and Sue, :-)

Melissa, not just a waffle face, but a waffle HEAD! I think all of the gondolas pass by that street light; I’ll bet the view at night was unbelievable.

Andrew, the Fair was actually crossed by several highways; the Long Island Expressway was between the main Fair and the Amusement Zone, while the Grand Central Parkway separated the Transportation Zone from the rest of the Fair.

Chuck, I used to think that the “T”-shaped building was the “Travel and Transportation” pavilion. What a fool I was! The structure is kind of striking in its way, and landing a helicopter on top is the best. What is the building that you pass? I am very familiar with the Teen Titans!

K. Martinez, ha ha, that sounds like something from “Mars Attacks”, I’d like to see that as well. There would be a scene where people are too dumb to run to the SIDE to get out of its way, and would just let it roll right over them, reducing them to mush.

DrGoat, you’ve got me beat, at least you’ve been to a World’s Fair! I only visited the Space Needle for the first time last year. I am very familiar with the wax busts of Lincoln, from the Mold-a-Rama machines! Too bad you don’t still have it, I love those things.

dennis, oh interesting! I always wondered about those badges on the Beatles during that famous Shea Stadium concert footage! What a great story.

JG, I’ll bet a lot of architects looked forward to the World’s Fairs, when they were encouraged to go nuts. I saw photos of the gigantic Shanghai Fair (Expo 2010), and they had some pretty incredible structures, it would have been amazing to go there, except that I read that the lines for some pavilions could be six hours long. The place was so huge, I don’t know how people were able to see it without allowing a week or more. I would like to know who got to eat at that restaurant atop the Port Authority building!

dennis, somehow I was under the impression that the Port Authority restaurant was still used, at least for special occasions. A catering facility seems pretty mundane for such an impressive spot!

Chuck said...

Major, I drive past the headquarters for U.S. Transportation Command (hence the "T" motif). It won some sort of architecture award when they built the western wing of the building (the part with all of the "Ts" in it).

It's funny that you mention six-hour lines for pavilions at the Shanghai World's Fair. When I went to the Knoxville World's Fair in '82, there was a multi-hour wait to get into the China Pavilion. Something about China and world's fairs, I guess...

Melissa said...

Closest I got to a World's Fair was s visit to the CN Tower in Toronto. And that almost didn't happen because we kept driving past it. It would get closer and closer and then... suddenly it would be behind us.

I've been reading a bunch of articles and blog posts about the Bel-Gem waffles; it's really an interesting story!

Dean Finder said...

Also in the first picture, those poles with streamers hanging from them mark the Lowenbrau pavilion, because nothing goes better with the automakers' pavilions in the transportation than a beer brewer.