Saturday, March 21, 2020

New York World's Fair, March 1964 Construction

It's time for another selection of photos from the construction of the 1964 New York World's Fair! It's fun to see photos of this Fair while it was being built - more fun than the photos that I have showing everything being torn down when it ended!

First up is this photo of the Coca Cola pavilion. The visitor to this exhibit samples five of the most spectacular places in the world, from an Alpine peak to a tropical forest - complete with sights, sounds, climate and aromas. The scenes are created in an elliptical building two-stories high enclosing a large court. In the center of the court is The Coca-Cola Tower, a three-sided 120-foot spire containing the world's largest electronic carillon, with 610 bells.

Here's a photo that I posted long ago, to give you an idea of what the pavilion looked like when it was complete.

The next two pictures show the Louisiana Pavilion. The guidebook said: New Orleans' famed Bourbon Street is reconstructed in this big pavilion. Jazz is the theme, and many well-known musicians perform in the picturesque buildings that line the 200-yard thoroughfare. Music and Creole food are combined in a variety of restaurants. There is dancing at a teen-age center and jazz for marching is played for miniature Mardi Gras parades. Louisiana products, including pralines, are on sale in gift shops. The market area contains specialty shops, while a large exhibition hall is devoted to historical and industrial displays. Nearby are a troupe of performing animals and a hobby center. Along the street, artists do quick portraits of visitors in charcoal and pastels.

There were parts of the pavilion that attempted to replicate the ornate architecture of New Orleans, but most of the buildings used these large industrial pre-fab sheds with some minimal. In 1965 they changed this area from "Louisiana" to "Bourbon Street".

Next is this nearly-completed dome for the World's Fair Pavilion; what was that? The souvenir guidebook says: This is the Fair's major indoor assembly hall. The light latticework structure is a geodesic dome composed of 1,250 interconnected pieces of aluminum tubing; weatherproof vinyl lines the inside; no internal supports obstruct the view. Some 2,100 seats radiate from a stage designed to accommodate some of the Olympic trials, television productions and conventions. Here, also, during the course of the Fair, will be held such divergent activities as jazz concerts and the junior A.A.U. weightlifting championships.

In 1965 the building became the Churchill Center, a tribute to Winston Churchill, who died in January of that year.

Next is this picture of the Minnesota building, which at this point looks like something Frank Gehry might have cooked up on an off day. This unusual pavilion is made of seven giant panels joined together to form one many-sided structure. There is a restaurant on the ground floor. The main exhibit area - which focuses attention on the state's industries - is on a second level, reached by ramps. Ramps? Why didn't you say so??

Oh yeah, I have lots more photos from the 1964 New York World's Fair!


TokyoMagic! said...

Did the Coca Cola Pavilion's carillon really have 610 bells? Honest? That's an awful lot of bells!

After the Fair, the framework for the World's Fair Pavilion/Winston Churchill Pavilion's geodesic dome, was moved across the street and is still being used today, in the Queen's Zoo.

Melissa said...

Lots of neato cars in this bunch. I'm looking forward to learning about them in the comments. The Coke building is mildly crown-roasty, but obviously not as much as the GM pavilion.

JC Shannon said...

I wish I had paid more attention to all the different pavilions. My brother David and I were more interested in baseball cards and girl watching. We had the attention span of a goldfish. I do remember the Ford Pavilion and the Helipad. Oh, and of course, the GE exhibit. Have you ever noticed that almost all newborn babies look like Winston Churchill? Just sayin'. Thanks Major.

stu29573 said...

Louisiana sounds a whole lot like New Orleans Square. They should have let Walt do it...

Andrew said...

The Coca Cola pavilion looks a lot like the Astrodome, just without, well, you know...

Chuck said...

Melissa is right - a lot of neat cars in the bunch. My pick is the '63 or '64 convertible Corvette with the hard-top installed in the third photo, although my second choice would be the '56 Chrysler DeSoto in the fourth image.

Aside from the sheer contrast between the finished front and the plain rear, the back side of the Louisiana Pavilion is a lot less interesting to me than the back side of pretty much any building at Disneyland. Maybe it's the lack of additional details, angles, offices, balconies, etc. Or maybe it's because I never saw it in person.

JC, you are so right. I have a baby photo of myself looking like Winston Churchill, complete with his trademark scowl, although for most of my babyhood I more closely resembled Dean Rusk.

Nanook said...

As Melissa intoned - there certainly are a lot of great cars. However, only the highlights from me today. In the first image - that's a 1963 Rambler station wagon on the far right. To its left is a 1963 Pontiac. And just to the left of the Volkswagen is a 1963 Buick Special. (I know - it's special 'cause its mom said so-!) I agree with Chuck on the Corvette in the third image as either a 1963 or 1964; and he nailed the DeSoto as a 1956 in the fourth image.

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I counted every bell myself. I had to do it a couple of times because I kept losing my place, but darn it, I finally did it. Cool that the geodesic dome is still being used, I know some other buildings were moved and had a life after the Fair.

Melissa, you need to write a book, “Buildings That Remind Me Of Crown Roasts” (with a forward by Tom Hanks).

Jonathan, I’m sure I would have been just like you, distracted by other things. Maybe we are ALL related to Winston Churchill. I saw a baby smoking a cigar the other day, and he really did look like the former PM.

stu29573, let’s face it, New Orleans Square was no good compared to the Fair’s “Bourbon Street”. Just look at those big featureless buildings! Magnificent!

Andrew… without the what? WITHOUT THE WHAT?

Chuck, yes, that Corvette is nice, and I wouldn’t say “no” if somebody gave me that DeSoto. Paint it metal flake lime green, with a shrunken head hanging from the rearview mirror, and a skull for the gearshift knob. Then give it to Mom. I had to look up Dean Rusk. Wikipedia doesn’t mention his ability to belch the song, “Pistol Packin’ Mama”, which he performed on Ed Sullivan just before The Beatles were introduced. BUT I REMEMBER.

Nanook, I would paint that station wagon with metal flake lime green… oh wait, I did this bit already. You can see how snowy, salted roads took their toll on those old cars. There’s a guy I like to watch on YouTube who restores old stuff (anything with a motor), and man, a Ford Econoline that he is working on is SO rusted out underneath. I remember Jay Leno saying that he liked to buy cars that had always been in California (and other dry climates presumably).

Nanook said...


Yes, the expression for all that rusting from road salts is referred to in the car biz as "body cancer".

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

As much as I love the idea of the World's Fair, seemed like such a waste to build so many elaborate buildings, only to either tear them down or leave them to waste away after only a year. Reminds me of the Olympics facilities in Brazil, which were constructed right next to the slums. There are people who are without homes living near buildings that only existed to facilitate a month-long sports event! :(

Andrew said...

Major Pepperidge, I was referencing the trademark dome of the Astrocone! Have I confused you yet? ;-) (If you're wondering, some random part of my brain remembered the spike-like supports on the exterior of both buildings.)

dennis said...

Thanks for the great photos, Major!
Dennis, Levittown NY

Dean Finder said...

Like TM said, the World's Fair Pavilion now houses an aviary for the Queens zoo. The carillon from Coca Cola is at Stone Mountain in Georgia, featured here recently.

It's odd seeing a convertible Corvette Stingray just as a regular car, not as a preserved collector's item.

And yes, collectors look for cars or parts from the desert southwest. A girl I knew in high school in the 1990s drove a Barracuda restored by her father. She backed into a parking bollard and destroyed a trim piece. It took months for him to find a replacement from Arizona.