|Foreground: Police tape. Background: Unisphere.|
|Memorabilia in the Queens Museum of Art.|
|Disney and Moses in the Queens Museum of Art.|
|Entrance Plaza. You can see the Unisphere |
in the center of the shot. It's omnipresent.
|Another shot near the entrance. |
I cropped out the homeless guy.
|Unisphere + rainbow = happy gay photographer.|
|The former Fountains of the Fairs are now a skate park.|
|Vegetation on the bottom of the Unisphere.|
|The Panorama is huge and amazing. It's the entire city |
in miniature at the Queens Museum of Art.
|I found these vintage Disney/fair souvenirs|
at the Museum gift shop.
The period of time that it represents, the fascinating architecture, the theme of "Peace Through Understanding", the grandeur to the brink of camp. All of it has captured my imagination the way it did for my parent's generation. My Mama still remembers her visit. A friend of mine (shout out to Bart!) tells of his trip with a glow in his eyes, recounting how at the end of their trip his mother told him that she would let him choose one last thing to see again before they left. He, of course, chose "it's a small world". He's a gay after my own heart. The fair has created it's own mythology and it is one that I am just starting to peel the layers back to see.
|Looking towards the Fountains.|
|My favorite statue from the fair-|
The Rocket Thrower. Hubba hubba.
|What's left of the Observation Towers and|
Tent of Tomorrow.
Of course, I scoured YouTube for interesting videos of the 64-65 Fair for you guys, since y'all are so awesomesauce. Here are the ones that really churned my butter. I hope you enjoy them!
This first one was made by Ford and shows a complete ride-through of the Magic Skyway, which otherwise might have been completely lost. Unfortunately, it doesn't contain Walt's original narration.
This is the famous "Disney Goes to the World's Fair" episode of The Wonderful World of Color. It is one of my favorite episodes and was released on a now out of print DVD in the Walt Disney treasures line. It shows Walt and his imagineers in preparation for the event. This is the first part of five.
This is a very cool special from NBC that I found where a host takes you on an overview of the entire fair. It is well-shot and the host has a dry sense of humor. It's a great way to get a taste of things that aren't Disney from the fair, and there were many. It's nice to see more of the scope. This is part one of six.
This is a commercial from the time for the subway extension that was done specifically to give people access to the fair. It's the very same 7 line that I took out to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park a few weeks ago. And it was not nearly this much fun. I wish it had been, though.
I would be remiss if I did not mention a few amazing sources of information for this entry and for the brain expansion that this journey into the 64-65 New York World's Fair has become and will continue to be for me. First is the amazing 5 CD set Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair. It contains ride-throughs with alternate versions, music, demos, show recordings and studio outtakes and is beautifully packaged with informative liner notes, which are really more like a short book. I have listened to the Ford Pavilion CD so many times that most of the tracks have slowly crept up into my iPod's most played playlist. Also, there is a fantastic book by Bill Cotter and Bill Young called Images of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. It has tons of great information and black and white photos of the fair. I have been slowly digesting each morsel on the subway every day for a week, trying to soak it all in. If you are interested in more in-depth information on the fair, especially Disney's influence there, I cannot recommend these highly enough.
|The back side of the good ole U. S. of A. on the Unisphere.|
I'm just at the beginning of my journey of discovery with the fair and I feel lucky that this came onto my radar while I was still living close enough to dig a little deeper in person. If you are in the area and have a passion for Disney history, it is well worth the trip to the Park. Despite the lack of buildings and landmarks, there is still a palpable sense of what was there. Though I'm sad about what was lost and will no doubt spend plenty of time trying to wrap my brain around the whole affair, I must say that I'm grateful that Walt saved so much of it and that Disney has kept it alive in one form or another. Disney has a respect for its history that even the city of New York doesn't and/or isn't able to have. I may not be able to ride a Ferris wheel housed in a giant tire, see the dancing fountains or shows, or even take a trip on the Magic Skyway, but I am able to ride "it's a small world" and the "Carousel of Progress" and be transported to a time when the idea of "a smile mean(ing) friendship to everyone" in "a great, big beautiful tomorrow" was not completely doused in irony, if only for a few minutes. In today's world that experience is not only nice but necessary. And I am extremely grateful to Disney for making it possible.
|One last look at the Unisphere before we left.|