Saturday, May 16, 2020

New York World's Fair

It's time for more nice photos from the 1964/65 New York World's Fair! Today's photos are from '65.

First up is this neat shot as seen from "United Nations South" a roadway that led from one of two bridges that crossed Grand Central Parkway. Behind us would be the Transportation Zone, where you would have enjoyed such wonders as General Motors' "Futurama", Ford's "Magic Skyway", the Chrysler Pavilion, and Sinclair Oil's "Dinoland". 

Ahead of us is the distinctive New York Pavilion with its two "flying saucer" towers, and the "Tent of Tomorrow" (the colonnade in the center/right), where there was a large terrazzo road map of New York. The structures are still there, but in a state of decay. To our left you can see one of 10 fifteen foot-high clock towers courtesy of Switzerland: The sphere containing two clock movements is designed to represent the Unisphere. since the Swiss Watchmakers are "Time-Keepers to the World" there is a direct relationship between this phrase and the design of the sphere as a globe.

Only on impulses at 60-second intervals do the hands of each clock move, all advancing by exactly one minute at the same precise instant.

A little further along and we get a good look at the Missouri pavilion. Missouri's glass-enclosed pavilion presents the theme, "First in Air ... First in Space." Among its main exhibits are a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane in which Charles A. Lindbergh made his historic New York-Paris flight in May 1927, and the two space capsules, Mercury and Gemini. There are also mementos of famous Missourians, a display sponsored by nine private electric utilities, and separate exhibits depicting the industrial developments and natural resources of the state, the city of St. Louis, and Kansas City.

This photo is fun for the people-watching too.

And here's the United States Pavilion. Within a glittering facade of multi-colored glass, this huge building, 330 feet long, offers a vivid and varied view of America's "Challenge to Greatness" - a theme endorsed by the late John F. Kennedy. Included are two films - one of them a dramatization of the nation's immigrant origins, the other a color spectacular that whisks the visitor through America's past to a future landing on the moon. There is also a modern, computer-run research library. Engraved in the pavilion's foyer, lines from a poem by Archibald MacLeish provide a keynote to the exhibit: "America is never accomplished."

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


Nanook said...

Can we please go there now-?

Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

Nanook, ditto! 1965 was a good year, the Beatles had a new album, Bewitched was on the tube, and I got to play my first Teisco electric guitar. I stunk, of course, but boy was that thing cool. I wish I had paid more attention to the exhibits at the Fair, but I was 10 and had a short attention span. Great memories, thanks Major.

stu29573 said...

You know, for all the hoopla, that Swiss clock tower is pretty dinky. Now, had they built it as a big cylinder with numbers on it that would rotate around and make people think they could tell what time it is all over the world (even though no one knows how it really works), now THAT would be something!

Andrew said...

Stu, no matter how dinky that clock was, I think it's funny of how everything at the fair seemed to be designed with a purpose... or at least the authors of the souvenir books made you want to think that. Just take "Only on impulses at 60-second intervals do the hands of each clock move, exactly one minute at the same precise instant."

You can imagine my disappointment when I found out recently that the Pennsylvania pavilion was little more than an awning with a Liberty Bell replica. What a cheap-out - it's unfair that Illinois got an animatronic show!

zach said...

Look, there's Troy Donahue, looking for Suzanne Pleshette.

Our grammar school clocks did that one minute click thing and I can't count the times I drifted out, waiting for the click. What did you say?! I missed my 12sies because of it.

I've only been to the NY Worlds Fair on this blog, so thank you Major!


Nanook said...

@ Andrew-
Just remember... “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I WISH!

Jonathan, it does seem like 1965 was fun in so many ways. There were problems as always, but we had great TV shows, great music... it was a great time to be a kid. I wish i had learned to play the guitar! But a lack of talent would have probably doomed me. At least you got to go to the Fair!

Stu29573, yeah, I agree that the Swiss clock is not much to get excited about, visually, at least. It feels like they could have made something much more impressive if they really tried!

Andrew, the clock operating on “pulses” feels very Space Age, and related to early computing, so it’s cool for that era. I didn’t even know that Pennsylvania had a pavilion, i am ashamed to admit! It does sound kind of rinky dink. They should have paid Walt Disney millions of dollars to design a show for them.

Dzacher, I don’t blame Troy, I would look for Susanne Pleshette too. I’ll bet millions of other kids were staring at their school clocks too, so don’t feel bad!

Nanook, sadly that somehow seems to be the truth.

Omnispace said...

This fair definitely had it's own brand of coolness. I love the flags along the parkway bridge - such a display of colors! It must have been a very breezy day.

I never got to this fair either but feel I got to experience the best of it at Disneyland: it's a small world, Carousel of Progress, the dinosaurs along the train route, and of course Mr. Lincoln. And cool things like Monsanto Atomobiles and PeopleMover systems (and even traveling theater cars) evolved out of ideas there.

I think my school must have had the Swiss do their clocks as well - interval movement hands, and a smooth sweep second hand. They would do a strange synchronization at 2:59PM when the second hand would jump ahead to the top position and pulse there for a minute till 3:00PM. Then the the second hand would start it's smooth operation again and at exactly 3:00:05PM the electronic bell would ring and we'd be free! Nice to get out of school with such precision.

Thanks again Major, and a belated Happy 14th!


Nanook said...

Pennsylvania didn't need a pavilion - they were still living-off the laurels from their Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cakes-! (Of course, had they been really clever - their pavilion could have been designed to resemble the world's biggest funnel cake). MMMMmmmmmm....

Melissa said...

Too much to take in; I'd better invest in one of those $1.00 guidebooks.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Or they could’ve made their Liberty Bell replica out of funnel cake!!

Chuck said...

I did a little bit of research to try to learn what happened to the Missouri Pavilion after the Fair, and I learned that I couldn't find anything about what happened to the Missouri Pavilion after the Fair. I did, however, learn that the Spanish Pavilion and its contents were moved to St. Louis in 1966, opened in 1969 as a tourist attraction, and went bankrupt in 1970. Fortunately, it's still standing as the lobby of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, whose 25-story tower was built on top of the open central courtyard in 1975-76. Weird to realize that I've eaten in a NYWF remnant and didn't even know it.

Andrew, if it makes you feel any better, we haven't gotten anything remotely as cool as that animatronic show since 1965 - and we had to give that back after the Fair!

Omnispace, the clocks at the first grade school I attended did the exact same thing at 2:59. I always thought it was just the office staff messing with us.

Major Pepperidge said...

Omnispace, the 1964 Fair was definitely a unique case, where so many of us could enjoy some of the most popular attractions years later. Pretty cool. I guess my schools never had cool clocks that would synchronize with each other... ours were just boring old regular clocks. Boo.

Nanook, they should had created the World’s Largest Funnel Cake. So big that guests could walk through it. You’d come out covered in powdered sugar. You could pay extra to take a bite along the way.

Melissa, OK, moneybags!

Lou and Sue, the REAL Liberty Bell should be replaced with one made of funnel cake.

Chuck, now I feel a challenge, I need to see if I can figure out what happened to the Missouri Pavilion. However, I know that if you couldn’t find anything, I probably won’t either. Wonder why the contents of the Spanish Pavilion went to St. Louis, of all places?!

Chuck said...

Major, go ahead and take the challenge - I spent like maybe five minutes trying to find out. I hit some articles on the Spanish Pavilion, read them, then looked at my watch and realized I had to mow the lawn before a Scout leaders Zoom meeting.

Here's an article on how the Spanish Pavilion ended up in St. Louis.

Dean Finder said...

I stood on that same bridge in 2014 in an enormous line to see the inside of the NY State Pavilion in its first public event in decades. It still needs a lot of work, but the NYSP Paint Project have done a great job bringing attention to it and helping secure funding to improve it. Sadly, I think that may be coming to an end with NYC's budget woes.

I had those synchronized clocks in grade school as well. It was always terrible watching them tick backwards as the end of the day drew near. Makes me think of the Simpsons episode where Bart loses his permission slip for the field trip and he's stuck licking envelopes for Principal Skinner.

Anonymous said...

We've seen other tour guides outside the entrance. Such as Here and here.
There has got to be some former tour guides out there as GDB readers. We would love to hear about your Disneyland experiences!

Bill Cotter said...

Chuck, the Missouri pavilion was sold as scrap and pulled to pieces. I don't know of any part of it that has survived. The Spanish Pavilion went to St. Louis as the then mayor was of Spanish descent and wanted to create an "International Gateway" pavilion. He also bought the replica Santa Maria of Christopher Columbus fame for the same reason. The project failed miserably and the ship eventually sank.

Here's a talk I gave recently on Disney and World's Fairs that might be of interest to some:

Chuck said...

Bill, thanks so much for that additional info. I look forward to watching your talk.