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Thread: Welcome to the 1964 NY World's Fair !

  1. #1

    Default Welcome to the 1964 NY World's Fair !

    Join me and Grandma as we wreak havoc upon the future.

    Thank you!

  2. #2


    Good link & funny descriptions. I now am a little (a lot?) more wary of discovering the "wonderful world of chemicals" with DuPont, but it all looked like the kind of fun, not scary, advances we'd want to run toward. Thanks Jimmy.

  3. #3
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    World’s Fair Showed a Different Side of the Port Authority


    A barge on the Hudson River headed for the Sinclair Oil “Dinoland” exhibition at the 1964 World’s Fair.
    Credit John Orris/The New York Times

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey designs, builds and maintains the engines of the regional economy: airports, marine terminals, rail lines, tunnels, bridges and, of course, life-size fiberglass dinosaurs.Yes, dinosaurs.

    At least that was its mission a half century ago when Robert Moses, the president of the New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation, turned over the planning and development of the fair’s entire 80-acre transportation area to the bistate agency, then known as the Port of New York Authority.

    Moses was not one to relinquish control. But in the biography “The Power Broker” (1974), Robert A. Caro said Moses cared little for the detailed work of organizing an event that would last only two summers. He was more focused on using the fair as a means to create a permanent Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

    Thus it fell to the authority to concoct pavilion designs in the zone set aside for corporate sponsors like automakers, airlines, oil companies and manufacturers.

    An early drawing for what would become the U.S. Royal Ferris wheel.
    Credit New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Archive

    The delightful legacy of this odd assignment is a set of architectural drawings, certified with official stamps, that depict the Port Authority — not known for a raucous sense of humor — as having once had an inventively whimsical streak.

    In Drawing E-138 of 1962, for instance, a giant brontosaurus stood guard atop the Sinclair Oil Corporation’s Dinoland pavilion. A few paces away, Tyrannosaurus rex was clearly contemplating triceratops tetrazzini for dinner.

    A half-scale Stonehenge appeared in Drawing E-149 of 1962 as a pavilion proposed by the authority for the New York Trap Rock Corporation.

    The Unisphere was prefigured in Drawing E-61 of 1961: an enormous globe girdled by an even larger tire. By Drawing E-124, spokes had replaced the globe and the tire had morphed into a Ferris wheel for an unnamed rubber company. Eight drawings later, it had become the 80-foot-high U.S. Royal tire.

    Terrace on the Park, built as a heliport and fair pavilion.
    Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

    The authority appeared agnostic when it came to who would sponsor these pavilions — as long as someone did. Exactly the same three-sided tower was drawn on April 6, 1962, for Hertz Rent-a-Car and its archrival, Avis.

    Despite the ups and downs of leasing spherical, needlelike and cone-shaped buildings, the Port Authority achieved what Moses had a hard time doing elsewhere on the fairgrounds.
    “We announced in October 1963 that we had rented all two million square feet of space,” said Patty Clark, the senior adviser for aviation policy in the authority’s aviation department. “We did our job, and Moses was grateful.”

    October 1963 was a key month. That was when the 120-foot-high Port Authority Heliport opened and when Sinclair Oil’s fiberglass dinosaurs, fabricated by Louis Paul Jonas, were brought into the city by barge along the Hudson River.

    An early drawing by the Port Authority of the Sinclair Oil "Dinoland" exhibition.
    Credit New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Archive

    Ms. Clark recalled a meeting in the mid-1990s with officials of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. On the office wall was a rendering of dinosaurs, stamped “Port of New York Authority.”
    “I was wondering what were we designing dinosaurs for,” she said.

    The question was left hanging until last year, when Ms. Clark and her colleagues were researching the authority’s role at the fair. The agency is involved with promoting tourism and economic development in Queens, home of La Guardia and Kennedy Airports.

    They reached out to Milton Pachter, 84, the senior litigation counsel at the authority, who was working for the agency in the 1960s and recalled the extent of the deal with Moses.

    The cover of the menu at Top of the Fair, the restaurant that was below the helipad at the World's Fair.
    Credit Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

    Steven Rizick, the director of document services for capital projects in the parks department, made 150 original fair drawings available to the Port Authority, whose own archives were destroyed in the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001.

    “Thank God they have them,” Ms. Clark said, “because we wouldn’t.”

    Some reproductions of the drawings will be on display through July 31 at the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, then move to the Queens Botanical Garden.

    As Ms. Clark and a colleague, Sheila Kaufman, explored the old heliport — now an event space known as Terrace on the Park — they discovered the remnants of the circular Theater 360 at the base of the structure last week. Now done up in baroque décor, it was where fairgoers watched a 360-degree panoramic documentary, “From Every Horizon,” with a score by Norman Dello Joio.

    Ms. Clark surmised that a generous niche in the theater’s curving wall might have served as the display area for a large-scale model of the World Trade Center. It was on the Port Authority’s drawing boards at the time of the fair.

    Standing in the old theater, Ms. Clark called up the score for the documentary on her iPad and simply let it play. The darkened space filled with poignant melodies reminiscent of Aaron Copland.
    Up on the roof, from a ballroom built where the helipad used to be, one could have seen the silhouette of the new 1 World Trade Center against the growing twilight.

  4. #4
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Cool quirkiness in Corona.

    The New York Hall of Science


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