July 13, 2013: Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York fame led a tour of Flushing Meadows Corona Park to hunt up remnants of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World's Fairs.
My mom went there in 1939 and took this shot of the centerpiece of the fair, the Trilon and Perisphere...
and also the Nation Cash Register building, toting up the attendance.
The tour began after exiting the renamed Mets-Willets Point station on the Flushing line.
The Mets' new home at Citi Feld, which replaced the World's Fair era Shea Stadium in 2009. Soon to host the 2013 MLB All-Star game, the boardwalk was lined with all sorts of reminders.
The Passarelle Walk passes over the MTA Corona Yard.
A few vintage "Redbirds" are still visible...
as well as an actual World's Fair car. "Just pay 15 cents, hop aboard!, and you're on your way."
First sights of the fairgrounds.
At the end of the walk are the main entry "tents" from the 1964-65 Fair.
To the right is the Singer Bowl, which hosted fair related events. It was rebuilt by the US Tennis Association into the Louis Armstrong Stadium in 1978, and was the main US Open site until 1997.
The park retains the outline of the Fair.
NYC P&R marker.
The former Gotham Plaza at the foot of the walk is now the David Dinkins Circle, containing representations from both fairs. This is the Trilon and Perispere from 1939-40.
Mosaic of the New York State Pavillion, still standing.
Robert Indiana (best known for the "LOVE" sculpture) was commissioned to create this neon work of art installed at the Theatrerama outside the NYS Pavillion, but it has to be removed because too many mistook it as a food venue. In 2009, it was reassembled for the first time since the Fair atop the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.
Mosaic of the Fountain of the Planets. The site remains, but not the fountain.
Mosaic of 1939-40 Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus Pavillion, which featured semi-clothed beauties acting out an underwater fantasy.
No, it's not Mel Brooks. It's a mosaic of Andy Warhol's Robert Moses protest pieces.
Mosaic of the Hall of Science and Space park, still standing.
Mosaic of Elsie the Cow, a main attraction of the 1939-40 Fair. She also guested at the 1964-5 Fair.
Mosaic of a survivor of both fairs.
Mosaic of the 1939 Fair musical and water extravaganza. The Amphitheater itself survived until 1996.
Mosaic of the 1939 Fair's Time Capsule. It remains, with a 1965 addition.
A mosiac fallen into disrepaired and removed - wonder what it was. A similar fate is in store for the remaining pieces.
The marker at the circle.
Passarelle Ramp from the other side of the circle on the former Avenue of Commerce.
On the Avenue of Commerce was the Mormon Pavillion with the short-lived artifical cloud panels, 1964. I filled out the guest book and received a visit from a couple of Mormon missionaries.
At the midpoint of this avenue was the Court of the Universe with the Pool of Industry beyond. The white structure was part of the Fountain of the Planets. The Bell Telephone Pavillion was directly across the pool.
The Pool of Industry and the Fountain of the Planets from the Bell Telephone Pavillion, 1965. From left to right: the General Electric Pavillion, featuring the Walt Disney "Progressland" presentation; the Tower of Light, with the NYS Pavillion rotunda and towers beyond; the arches of the Johnson's Wax Pavillion; a Swiss Sky Ride tower; and The Unisphere.
On either side of the Court are stylized eagles remaining from the 1939 Fair. Created by Robert Foster, rumors that they were gifts from Nazi Germany are totally false.
Cutting through the park, Kevin brought us to Donald De Lue's statue of "George Washington as Master Mason". The original was a full-size faux-patined plaster model displayed at the Masonic Pavilion.
Following the fair, it was cast in bronze and placed near the former Masonic Center site.
The pedestal is North Carolina pink granite.
Across the way in the former Court of the Astronauts is another De Lue statue, "The Rocket Thrower".
This day, he was being visited by a hawk that nests in the Unisphere.
Facing the Fountain of the Planets, the Fountains of the Fair, which had arching streams of water.
Nowadays, they have been repurposed as play areas.
Facing the Unisphere, the stepped Pool of Reflections.
A remnant of the Jordan pavillion, the Column of Jerash - the second-oldest man-made object in NYC.
In the Court of the President of the United States, the Fountain of the Continents and the symbol of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, The Unisphere.
Built on the site of the 1939 Fair's Perisphere and presented by U.S. Steel, it was dedicated to "Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe".
The fountains were running for the All-Star Weelend.
At The Unisphere, 1964.
At The Unisphere, 2013
At The Pool of Reflections, Kevin takes the traditional group portrait.
The 1939-40 fair was build on the site of the "Valley of Ashes" immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby"
The 1964-65 Fair was built on the site of the original fair, very little of which had remained. My photos of our visits are included within.
The portrait from the Forgotten New York site
Etched granite panels by Matt Mulligan trace Flushing Meadows-Corona Park’s development, including the 1939 World's Fair...
and the 1964 World's Fair.
To the right of The Unisphere, Dad poses at the top of the Court of the States with the United States Federal Pavillion, 1964.
Down this path was the Thailand Pavillion, 1964. It was carefully dismantled and shipped to Montreal for Expo '67.
Marshall Frederick's "Freedom of the Human Spirit". The US Federal Pavillion survived the fair, but fell into disrepair after it couldn't be repurposed. Demolished in 1977, the site now has the USTA's Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Over the Grand Central Parkway to Theodore Roszak's "Forms in Transit". One wing had to be removed in 1970 because of corrosion.
Across the Avenue of Science from it are the undulating walls of the Hall of Science.
Well into the 1964 season, this was one of the last Fair buildings completed.
Outside The Hall of Science was the United States Space Park, 1964.
In the Space Park, one of my favorite ships: the X-15, 1965.
The only remainders of the Space Park are the refurbished Altas-Mercury and Titan II-Gemini combinations.
The Terrace on the Park catering hall was the Port Authority Heliport and Exhibition Building. Sightseeing helicopters as well as flights to and from NYC airports and the Pan-Am building in midtown Manhattan landed here.
Near the Heliport were the Chrysler Pavilion and its fountain and the US Rubber ferris wheel, 1964 ...
Sinclair Dinoland, 1964 ...
and the Fountain of Progress South and The General Motors Pavillion, home of the Futurerama, 1964.
Recrossing the highway brought us to the foot of the Court of the 1939 World's Fair and Jose De Rivera's "Free Form", one of NYC's few kinetic sculptures.
This court is now a stretch of memorial garden.
Behind the Unisphere and fronting New Amsterdam Plaza is a survivor of both New York World's Fairs. The Queens Museum of Art was formerly the New York City Building and the temporary home of the United Nations from 1946-1952.
At this building is a memorial plaque to two NYC Bomb Squad members killed in the line of duty at the 1939 Fair.
Passing the Unisphere to what is now universally called...
"the ruins of the New York State Pavillion".
The three towers had exterior capsule elevators that were frozen in place for years until they were removed as hazards.
Dennis Weaver (more likely his stunt double) rappelled from one of the towers in a "McCloud" episode, and the alien ship landed here in "Men in Black".
The rotunda enclosed a giant Texaco-sponsored map of New York State made of terrazo panels.
Today, the roof's translucent multicolored panels are gone...
and nothing remains of the map.
At the New York State Pavillion, 1964.
The Theaterama originally exhibited pop-art works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein as well as Robert Indiana's "EAT" . It reopened in 1995 as Queens Theatre in the Park.
Westinghouse sponsored both Time Capsules. The 1939 Time Capsule is under this granite marker. The 1964 capsule is a few yards away in this former shallow pool.
At the Court of Nations, a new memorial garden to...
the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
At the Court of the Stars, the Astral Fountain has been repurposed as a skateboard park.
This bench marks the site of the Vatican Pavillion.
Besides a visit from the Pope, the site was best known for exhibiting Michangelo's "Pieta".
Behind plexiglass panels that made flash photography almost impossible, " Pieta" was viewed from a fast-moving conveyor belt that gave only a very quick view, 1964.
At the Vatican Pavillion, 1964.
Crossing the Meadow Lake Bridge, a look back at the NYS Pavillion in 2013...
The (NY State Gertrude Ederle) Marine Amphitheatre stood at the Meadow Lake's edge from the 1939 Fair until demolished in the 1990s.
An always-shuttered snack bar at the lake may incorporate parts from the Ampitheater.
Perhaps this freize...
and this gate?
The final survivor of both fairs, the boathouse on Meadow Lake.
As the tour ends, not a part of either fair, but a nice sculpture group nonetheless.
8MM home movie
An aerial view of the Fair.
New York Times; March 4, 2014
New York Times; May 8, 2014
New York Times 7/2/2015