If you have memories of the 1964/65 World’s Fair we invite you to share them here.  Do you remember visiting the New York State Pavilion?  Can you recall walking across the giant Texaco Road Map?  Share your stories here!


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16 Comments

  1. rsister, January 29, 2008:

    Yes I did … in 1964 I was 3 years old. My family and I attended the fair and my first memories are of the UNIROYAL Tire (ferris wheel?) and a magic show (a woman was “cut in half”).

  2. C. Gibbs, February 4, 2008:

    Yes, I attended the World’s Fair when I was a small child. In fact I am the little girl in the car pertending to drive over the Texaco Road Map on the web site. I was being pushed by my mother and was four years old. My older sister and father were also there but not in the picture. We saw the picture in National Geographic Magazine and never even knew our picture was taken - our 15 minutes of fame. My sister also sang at the fair that day with her high school chorus. Although I was very young I remebered being there and talking on telephones that recorded your voice and played it back. And of course I liked the car push wagon.

  3. steve, February 4, 2008:

    - GE Carousel of Progress. Was amazed to see the identical show at Disneyworld in Orlando only about 5 or 10 years ago. (Have heard that for some reason Disney has recently altered the show, so it’s not the same anymore.)

    - A ride called “It’s a Small World” where you rode around on little boats listening to the same song played over and over again. Was amazed to also see this at Disneyworld recently.

    - A show where and animated Abe Lincoln spoke. Was amazed to see this at Disneyworld too.

  4. steve, February 4, 2008:

    - Wonderful architecture everywhere.

    - The IBM pavilion looked like a giant ovoid. You sat in steep bleachers to watch a movie. Amazingly, a little platform with a narrator on it was lowered vertically from the ceiling.

    - A Clairol exhibit where women would look into a thing and see what they would look like with different hair.

    - A GM exhibit where you rode around on chairs viewing the “city of the future” to your left and right. Elevated highways everywhere with lots of cars.

  5. steve, February 4, 2008:

    SPLITTING THE ATOM! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, right before your very eyes. In this thing in the center of the room that you can’t really see into we will split an atom! It will make a loud noise and produce a flash of light.

  6. jon, February 4, 2008:

    I remember going to the World’s Fair several times after it opened, when I was 3 and 4 years old. Most impressive were some of the sunsets that were dramatically the exact same dark ble as the Fair’s NY State color scheme.

    I also remember the American Indian Pavillion, going up into the observation tower, fireworks at night, and the thronging crowds.

    Also, the traffic going to and from the Fair was just one immense traffic jam. I remember seeing that folks had gotten so frustrated with the traffic that they got out and had picnics on the side of the road!

    The guide book to the Fair is still one of my prized possessions.

  7. BCosgrove, February 27, 2008:

    I was 4 years old and still recall how I was entralled with the “its a small world” in miniature diaramas that was extremely detailed and represented people from all different cultures around the world. The architecture was considered very futuristic (like the Jetsons come to life) at the time. Years later in my teens driving past the old, faded and decaying structures being long forgotten and ignored. So glad this restoration is being taken seriously - would love the color and vibrance to be restored to bring that faded memory back to life. Always wondered if the World globe would be sold off - now would love to see it moving in time with the rotation of an actual day.

  8. Janet, March 26, 2008:

    I was five years old when I visited the New York World’s Fair. “It’s a Small World” is vivid in my memory with the moving puppets and repeating music. I remember riding the elevators in the pavillion and would love to see them restored again! I remember seeing Abe Lincoln speak, or so I thought when I told my teachers in school that I saw his speech at the World’s Fair, not understanding the wonder of robotic technology. I remember the fountains at the unisphere and the throngs of people, mostly legs at five years old! The unisphere remains a unifying symbol of New York with the world. Antique dealers today still carry plates, mugs and trays with this memory emblazoned in each still marketable piece.

  9. Mike, April 7, 2008:

    While I’m not quite old enough to remember the fair, I remember driving past it every Sunday on the way to grandma’s house and hearing stories about the fair from my parents (who were high school students in 1965). Later, I experienced the fair every day for years as a young adult working at a business on nearby Corona Ave. and seeing the structures in the near distance. I even recall “gaining entrance” into the pavilion once with my then girlfriend and walking across New York state. (It was in horrible shape then!!)

    To me, what’s left of the fair is a symbol of ‘the good old days’, a time that was more optimistic, less hurried and far less complicated that our lives today. I wish I could go back in time, even if just for a day to see the now decrepit structures standing in Flushing Meadow in all their glory.

  10. Bob, April 7, 2008:

    I was 8 when my family came into New York for the fair staying in the city and coming out on the subway. I still remember the GM Futurama and at the Chrysler pavilion, I think they were singing pistons. It was totally magical. Other great memories were the IBM people wall and my first Belgian Waffle.

  11. Ben, April 7, 2008:

    My memory of the map in the NY State pavilion is the seminal memory of the World’s Fair. I was about 8 years old and my brother was 6. He was a whiz with maps, able to memorize maps and learn his way around cities before even visiting them. He was mesmerized by the map of New York and immediately took off and started running around the highways and roads. While he knew his way around the map, he became separated from the family and was lost. We had to have the police find him.

  12. David R. DeFilippo AIA, April 7, 2008:

    I only had the chance to go to the fair once with my family. I was 6 or 7 at the time. I remember the NY State Pavilion but did not go to the map from what I recall. I was so blown away as a child by all of the structures as well not able to understand why building so awsome would be destroyed. I believe that seein all this beauty is the reason I became an Architect.
    Later in life I heard Lev Zetlin speak about his engineering work at the fair and actually walked across the map with my architecture school friends in the maps damaged beauty.
    This map shows why the State of New York is ” The Empire State”.

  13. Kathy Okulewicz, April 7, 2008:

    I was 8 when my family visited the NY World’s Fair. We went at least twice. Taking the colorful subway cars was new for us. I remember the City of the Future (GM) - my favorite!, and seeing the Pieta after standing in a very long line. My Grandmother was the only adult interested in getting on the Ferris Wheel with me and my brother. I remember the big Sinclair Dinosaur! Saw It’s a Small World. We bought pretty colored stones (beautiful tiger eye) from a vendor, and I think these are the only things that I still have. My aunt has a Heinze pickle (gherkin?) pin. What a thrill for a child to experience - back when such things were indeed a wonder! I wanted to grow up and be involved in the budding space program, but such things were not encouraged for young ladies. Thank goodness some things have changed for the better.

  14. Urso Chappell, April 7, 2008:

    Unfortunately, I was born after the New York World’s Fair, but I’ve had the pleasure of visiting six world’s fairs since then.

    I have to take issue with the site’s statement: “The New York World’s Fair was one of the last international expositions. No longer relevant as a way to bring the world to the public, the Fair as event and construction is obsolete.”

    Since the last New York World’s Fair closed in 1965, there have been sixteen world’s fairs with one opening in a matter of weeks (Expo 2008), and three more in the next eight years (Expo 2010, Expo 2012, and Expo 2015). Sadly, we haven’t had a world’s fair in North America since 1986, so there’s the perception in the United States that they no longer happen.

    I hope one day we can see New York once again host a world’s fair.

  15. Donna, April 8, 2008:

    I was born after the Fair but my mother remembers going and seeing this map.

    It is pitiable that the map was allowed to deteriorate and that so little of it is going to be saved. Can’t more be done?

  16. Cynthia, April 24, 2008:

    I remember the “Uni-sphere” . My mother remembers the “trylon and perisphere” from the ‘35 fair.

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