Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Selection From the New York World's Fair

For lack of a better idea, let's go to the World's Fair! New York, that is. 1965.

The Bell System pavilion is one of the more striking buildings at the Fair, and that's saying something. It almost looks like a hovering spaceship. The upper story of the pavilion, which houses the ride, is a gigantic "floating wing" that rests on four pylons. Below is an exhibit hall devoted to the technology of communications. Nearby rises a 140-foot microwave tower which transmits TV shows originating at the Fair.  

Next to it rises one of the tallest structures at the Fair, a 140-foot microwave tower through which TV shows originating at the Fair are transmitted.

Notice the man crossing the causeway in the middle of the "Pool of Industry", where the "Fountain of the Planets", largest in the world, shoots 10,000 tons of water as high as 150 feet into the air in ever-changing patterns. Rockets are fired from 464 launchers; lights totaling 150 million candlepower cast their brilliant colors at water and sky; and music plays over loudspeakers.

"What a funny place for a bathroom!", the man chuckled to himself.

This restaurant was part of the Switzerland pavilion. Get yourself a bratwurst on a bun, and have them add some sauerkraut and spicy mustard. To the right you can see a sliver of the "Tent of Tomorrow" from the New York pavilion.

Welcome to DuPont's "Wonderful World of Chemistry", encircled by round lamps that have "electrons" orbiting them. I love those. To the left is the 7-Up tower (107 feet tall), and to the right is the 120-foot Coca Cola tower that held an electric carillon with 610 bells.

I have a whole series of photos showing that DuPont sign being constructed, they're interesting, but there's a LOT of pix. I'll have to go through them and see what's worth sharing here.

And finally, here's a group of folks relaxing in an area that I couldn't quite ID. There's a sign that says "Antique Fair" but that didn't help much. It might be near the "Bourbon Street" area, notice the "wrought iron" on the building in the background. I think the standing lady is eating one of the famous Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the 1965 New York World's Fair! There's lots more to come from here.


Nanook said...

The Bell System Pavilion is so striking, and seems as modern today as it must've looked in 1964/65.

I wonder what Swiss waffles are-?

(Babushka sighting in the 4th image).

Thanks, Major.


All that spectacular and daring architecture featured in the pavilions at that fair and there’s the restaurant of the Swiss pavilion looking like some everyday 1960’s low-brow roadside pancake house!! Could the Wealthy county of Switzerland not have created something more futuristic or something more historically accurate? They had plenty of time- Switzerland was one of the first countries to sign aboard to participate in New York World’s - signing the pact in 1960!! Maybe the Swiss pavilion was secretly funding the German Federal Republic pavilion out of habit!??

Even Belgium had a 2 million dollar Belgium Village recreated - just to use as a waffle stand!! The design of the Village was so authentic it was used for filming several TV shows and movies including the live action scenes to the Rakin-Bass musical fantasy “ The Day Dreamer”.

I apologize for being so severe with the Switzerland Pavilion.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook beat me to it with the question about the Swiss waffles! Maybe the Swiss were desperately trying to compete with the Belgium pavilion and their famous waffles.

Mike, thanks for that info about "The Day Dreamer." I didn't know that they used the Belgian village as a set. I haven't seen that film in years, but now I want to see it again, just to see those World's Fair buildings up close.

Chuck said...

Swiss waffles are kind of like Belgian watches. They taste about the same, too.

Man, do I dig those sports car strollers in the DuPont photo.

I am interested in seeing a "highlights reel" of that sign's construction. I have an uncle who worked for DuPont as a chemist and later as an executive, and the DuPont logo dredges up warm, fuzzy associations like the Bell System, Goodyear, GE, and Monsanto ones do.

Never heard of The Daydreamer before. Going to have to track that one down.

Andrew said...

I want everything in these pics - the Coca-Cola bell tower, the DuPont sign, a Belgian (Swiss?) waffle, etc., etc. - made into a musical clock and on my desk PRONTO!!

stu29573 said...

Well, now we know where Lucas got the idea for the Millennium Falcon. Or maybe someone with Bell was a time traveler and got the idea from Lucas. These things are always confusing...

zach said...

I tried planting a bratwurst garden but the animals kept digging up the sausage I planted.

Living on the west coast, things on the east coast just never reached my radar. So I enjoy what I can now on GDB.

This particular post has made me hungry!

Thanks Major!


DrGoat said...

Impressive architecture all around, except for the quaint Scandinavian stuff.
Chuck, didn't notice the sports car strollers at first glance. Super cool! I'm really digging the 7UP sign. Like something out of the War of the Worlds. I do think Coca Cola should have cranked it up to 611 bells. Give it the old push off the cliff.
I tried to enlarge the Swiss pavilion to check out those drawings scrawled on the side of the building. That one in near center looks like Death with a scythe with something hovering in the back round. Totally appropriate.
stu, that does look like the Falcon or something from Dune.
Very neat pics, love the futuristic, monolithic architecture.
Great comments too. Swiss Waffles, who knew?
Thanks Major.

DrGoat said...

And I bet you could fry chickens in the barnyard with that microwave tower.

dennis said...

Those sports car strollers were little Corvettes. They were sponsored by Hertz - the rental car company. And yes, they were cool! Dennis, Levittown, NY

Anonymous said...

That Bell pavilion is really something.

Was there anything inside that flying wing, or was the occupied part underground?

Fun post, Major. I went to the Worlds Fair in Spokane in 1974, but it was nothing like this.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Andrew, I wonder what song/music that your DuPont sign desk-clock would play?? The Swiss waffle musical desk-clock would, obviously, play a Swiss polka.

Tom said...

Luminaire alert! THe fourth pic: that awesome DuPont building with its sphere lamps, the coke carillon, the 7Up sign, and a red white & blue Luminaire to top it off! Amazing photos today. I never get tired of seeing images of this fair. Thanks for sharing!

Dean Finder said...

The Pool of Industry is actually an aboveground section of the creek that joins Meadow Lake to Flushing Bay, and is buried through the rest of the fairgrounds. Since it's connected to the bay, the water level would rise and fall with the tides. Those walkways would be usable at low tide for maintenance workers to set up the fireworks for the nightly shows, and would disappear other times.

Nanook said...

@ Sue-

Make that the Swisskapolka-!!

Omnispace said...

Mike, Just off the top of my head, the New York Worlds Fair was not a sanctioned international exposition so it's possible that many of the international pavilions were funded by private companies - hence the quaint Switzerland Pavilion. That of course wouldn't stop me from visiting the Chocolat Tobler bar.

The AT&T pavilion is simply amazing! Yes JG, there is an entire ride-through attraction up in the "wing". The elevated boarding area is just to the right tucked underneath.

As always, very enjoyable pics of the fair - wish I could have experienced it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Arg, once again Blogger has informed me that I have to cut my reply into two parts!

Nanook, I agree, and a lot of the other buildings also stand the test of time as far as being looking daring and modern, quite a feat for architecture that’s over 50 years old. Ha ha, I didn’t notice the sign for “Swiss Waffles”!

Mike Cozart, you would think that Switzerland might have something a little more dazzling - their pavilion isn’t much to write home about. Apparently their display of rare watches was very popular! Perhaps they had always planned on doing something more along the lines of a “traditional Swiss building”, not realizing that other countries had much bigger plans in mind? Don’t forget that they also had the Swiss Sky Ride, which was pretty cool, built by good old Von Roll of course. Oh my gosh, I remember “The Day Dreamer”! In fact there are still a few songs I could hum (“Luck to Sell”). I had no idea they filmed some of it at the Belgian Village, so cool.

TokyoMagic!, could it be that Swiss Waffles had chocolate in (or on) them? Just a wild guess, they were probably identical to Belgian Waffles.

Chuck, I see that, like me, you enjoy eating Belgian watches! Don’t knock them ’til you try them, folks. I’ve wanted to scan and share those photos of the DuPont sign in progress… they were clearly taken by somebody inside the company, because there are pictures of it as a drawing, being laid out full-size with paper templates, being built, and finally, being installed (in the snow). I feel like even if I edited them down there would be more images than most people would care to see.

Andrew, MORE MUSICAL CLOCKS! It turns out this is what people really want. Eat it, Funko Pops!

stu29573, ha ha! I’ve heard that Lucas was inspired by a hamburger, of all things. Or maybe it was his designers, I forget. They should have just made it look exactly like a hamburger, with lettuce and tomato spilling out the side. Think of the McDonalds sponsor money!

zach, we’ve all had similar experiences, bratwurst trees like soil with good drainage. Try adding some crushed stone to the area! I remember looking at LIFE and National Geographic magazines with articles about the Fair, but it must have been years after the event, because I was just a pup.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, maybe it was kind of nice to have something quaint (perfect word) when so much of the rest of the Fair was spectacular and cutting edge? Just a thought. I remember that show “American Pickers” had an episode in which somebody had one of those cool strollers in their barn, I wonder how much you could sell one of those for if it was restored? I can’t quite make out those drawings on the Swiss building, I have no doubt that they are based on folk tales. Wonder if they ever intended them to be full-color instead of just line drawings?

DrGoat, buy a cold sandwich and bring it near the microwave tower, then enjoy your delicious hot sandwich!

dennis, I thought they were supposed to be little Jaguars, but as most people know, I am not a car person.

JG, there was a ride inside that “floating wing” structure: the visitor, in a moving chair with earphones, is whisked through scenes showing the progress of man's efforts to communicate with others. Movies, stage sets and projected pictures tell the story with a three-dimensional effect, accompanied by music and narration. I feel like the Spokane Fair was possibly the first one I was aware of, we talked about it in school.

Lou and Sue, your DuPont sign/desk clock should play “Yackety Sax” every five minutes, because nobody can get enough of that song.

Tom, I also love how the sphere lamps are surrounded by “electrons” in great mid-century colors. If I had any skills as a maker, I’d love to make a scaled-down Luminaire. And let’s make it a clock too, what the heck!

Dean Finder, interesting! I never knew, and certainly didn’t consider that it would be affected by the tides. Thanks!

Nanook, I’m sorry, but you can’t even say “Swisska*****” without going directly to Disney jail.

Omnispace, you are right, it was not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions. I do think that some companies cooperated with Ed Moses, but you are also correct about private companies being sponsors. Glad you guys liked today’s Fair pix!

Nanook said...


You can always create a 'mash-up' of "Swisskapolka" & "Yakety Sax"....... (Well, it's better than "¿Cómo Está Usted?" by Annette-!)

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks OmniSpace and Major. No wonder that roof is so thick. Now I understand the long line of people, they are waiting for the ride.

The Spokane Expo had nothing like this. I think there was a skyway ride, but memory is vague otherwise.

Major, you should post the sign construction photos, that would be interesting to see.


Anonymous said...

"Microwave tower"

Well, considering what the word "microwave" means nowadays, I'm morbidly curious as to whether or not such a tower posed a radioactive hazard in hindsight. If it was powerful enough to transmit television signals, I wonder how much of an effect it would have on nearby human bodies. :/

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, do Belgian watches come with strawberries and whipped cream on them??

Chuck said...

I have a friend who worked on modifications to the PAVE PAWS ballistic missile early warning radar system who told me stories about birds flying too close to the phased array antennas and dropping dead from radiation.

Dean Finder said...

One more thing I just noticed. In the DuPont picture, that egg shaped glass front structure in the right foreground was a "family phone booth" to allow your whole group to call family and friends from the fair. Possibly the first speakerphone installation.

Dean Finder said...

Oops, forgot to add confirmation that is Bourbon Street.

Sunday Night said...

When the Bell System sponsored the "America the Beautiful" Circarama film at Disneyland they had "family phone booths" in a display area. I once used one to call my mother!