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Craig Bavaro

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About Craig Bavaro

  • Rank
    Century 21 Exposition
  • Birthday February 6

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  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests
    Everything NYWF 64-65

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  1. Opening Day Tidbits

    The following bits of information were gleaned from the Fair Corporations records at the New York Public Library during one of my many fact finding missions over the years: Robert Moses entire Yale graduating class of 1909 was invited. Robert Moses lamented the passing of his fellow classmates. One assistant to Roberts Moses said remove a name from the list because "He's dead." Fair officials were very concerned that President Lyndon Baines Johnson wouldn't come to the opening ceremonies. Former President Eisenhower wouldn't come from Palm Springs because it was "Too much of an effort to travel across the country". Fair officials asked him to write a statement, which he did. Former President Hoover was too frail to come. He was also asked to send a statement. Former President Truman was in attendance and did speak. President Johnson's assistant (possibly Kenny O'Donnell) actually asked fair officials to move the opening date of the fair to 4/20 to accommodate the president’s schedule. Fair officials politely declined by explaining that was just not possible given the complexities involved. Fair officials debated whether or not to invite Grover Whalen's widow. They did and she wrote a very grateful thank you letter to Robert Moses. Many people made personal pleas for tickets to the opening ceremonies and fair officials went out of their way to accommodate most, if not all of the requests. The invited guest list quickly grew from 5 to 10 to 15 thousand people in the last 2 months leading up to opening day. Fair officials were very concerned about how it would "appear" if the former or current presidents didn't all accept their invites. Fair officials worked with presidential intermediaries to get a feel if The White House would accept if an "official" invite was sent. The letter sent to President John F. Kennedy on 11/21/63 about attending the fairs opening had a note attached to it dated 11/22/63 saying that it was retrieved from the mail room before it could be sent. A two thousand guest official party was planned for the Top of the Fair restaurant, but it was canceled once fair officials found out that President Johnson wouldn't be attending. Robert Moses table at the official party would have been 11 people instead of 10 at all the others. The centerpiece on Robert Moses table at the official party was to have been a certain kind of flowers in a round black basket. Fair official (possibly Ernestine Haig) pointed out that the fair is the star of the show, not any politician that the public can see on TV at any event or holiday.
  2. Anyone know what was behind this act of vandalism?

    If I recall correctly, Jackie Kennedy personally arranged for the Mona Lisa to be exhibited here in the U.S. (on loan from the Louvre) because the French people were very taken with her after she visited France with her husband in 1961. But allowing the Mona Lisa to actually leave France also caused quite a stir back home, such that I think the French government later passed a law that said the painting could never leave France again. Obviously the Vatican didn't feel the same way, since they did allow the Pieta to be exhibited at the Fair over some Italian objections.
  3. A pretty day in August 1964

    Interesting little tidbit of info. All of the flagpoles along the fair boulevards and avenues were actually rented by the Fair Corporation and returned to the vendor after the fair was over.
  4. The food stand concession that Brass Rail ultimately won was bid on by a number of companies and was one of the most sought after concessions at the Fair.
  5. I See Myself (in a photo of the World's Fair)

    Did someone ask for attendance figures? Well here are the daily counts for both seasons with running totals for each season and both seasons. The yellow and green highlighted counts for each year indicate the lowest and highest attendance days respectively. This information was copied verbatim from an official Fair Corporation document. NYWF 64-65 Attendance Totals.pdf
  6. Dr. King

    Well said Jim. Thank you for sharing your memories of that tragic day.
  7. Sorry guys for the late responses, but sometimes life has a way of intervening in ones hobbies when you have a full time job. Ok, here goes. 1. My pleasure Jim. 2. Your welcome Irv. To answer your first question, the Fair Corporations engineering staff kept a pretty close eye on things during the demolition phase as evidenced by the extensive records they maintained. There are at least 16 boxes of engineering demolition files in the Fair Corporations records at the New York Public Library that document that the engineering staff was very busy during this period issuing permits and performing inspections at each site before releasing the demolition contractors and exhibitors from any future liability. While it is true that money was tight, it’s also a well-known fact that Robert Moses was very focused on restoring and completing the park. So much so, that he diverted millions of dollars from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (which he ran at the time) to ensure completion of the park. You also have to bear in mind that Moses executives and their key staff members had worked for him in other capacities for many years prior to the fair. As such, they were well versed in these types of large scale projects and knew very well what the boss expected if they wanted to work for him on future projects. In the case of the large industrial and transportation exhibitors, they were fully on the hook for removal of their pavilions and it appears from the records that for the most part all of them performed according to their contracts. To answer your second question, everything above four feet had to be completely removed. Anything below four feet had to be broken up as specified in the rules. That’s not to say that some exceptions may have been made. The only way to know for sure in the case of the monorail tower footings would be to review the demolition file and permits for that exhibitor. Randy is correct. If they didn’t strictly enforce the rules and regulations as it pertained to the demolition below ground, the park would have become a flooded mess in later years. 3. Sorry to have kept you waiting icedstitch. Do you really think a troll would have written such a long and detailed response….lol. Hopefully the above response will rekindle your enthusiasm for this topic. 4. Sorry Steve. I got busy and I forgot all about this post for a while. The good news is that I’m really a creature of habit. For the last 17 plus years since I joined PTU, I never hit the notify me button because I always come back when time permits and read all of the new items about the 64-65 NYWF, the 62 Seattle Fair and 67 Montreal Expo. I think I’m all caught up now. Please do let me know if I missed anyone or you have any additional questions.
  8. Let me address how demolition of this and most of the other large industrial exhibits would have gone. 1) Prior to the close of the fair, a select number of demolition firms with extensive experience demolishing building of this size would have toured the building with representatives of the exhibitors facilities people to determine what the exhibitor would not be removing prior to turning the building over to the demolition contractor. They would also review the construction plans and specs to determine any unusual challenges to the demolition and obtain figures for recoverable materials such as air conditioning equipment, lighting fixtures, pipes, wiring, steel, etc. 2) The exhibitor would receive each contractor's bids and typically sign a contract based on the lowest bid. The contract would be net of the recoverable materials value, which would become the property of the demolition contractor unless specifically excluded from the contract. 3) After the fair closed, the exhibitor would remove all of the items they excluded from the demolition contract. For example, they may have decided to reuse the office furniture, sell it on their own, or donate it. In the case of the GM pavilion, someone reported that GM removed their automobiles and trucks from the pavilion and simply turned building and the rest of its contents over to the demolition contractor. 4) Once the demolition contractor took possession of the building, then it was theirs to do with as they wished provided they cleared the entire site in compliance with the Rules and Regulations of the Fair Corporation. 5) The demolition contractor would then methodically proceed to strip the interior of the building of everything salvageable that was not nailed down before they proceeded to strip the building of everything that was nailed down, since their bid was based on being able to recover and sell as much of these materials as possible. In the case of the GM pavilion, someone reported that the models were broken up and thrown out by the demolition contractor (although some small pieces of the model have surfaced over the years). During this part of the demolition, the interior of the building would have been kept clean for safety reasons or the management of the contractor would hear from the union reps that unsafe conditions existed on the job site. If safety violations were not promptly corrected the job could be shutdown. 6) Materials that could not be recovered would be demolished and carted away. This would include carpeting, ceramic tiles, sheetrock walls, etc. that couldn't be removed without damaging it or was simply worn out because it showed the wear of millions of guests having used it. 7) Once the interior was stripped bare of all of the fixtures, ceilings, walls and floors, then the really heavy work of dismantling the steel super structure would begin until they reached the ground and basement levels of the site. 8) Once the super structure was removed, then the Fair Corporation rules required that the floor of the cellar be broken up provided it was more than 4 feet below finished grade. Per the attached page from the Fair Corporations Rules & Regulations, Demolition of Structures and Buildings section, they were very specific as to what was acceptable fill for the site. If these requirements were not followed, the Fair Corps. engineering staff would cite the contractor. If they still didn't comply, the Fair Corporations counsel would have contacted the exhibitor to complain since the demolition contract between the exhibitor and the demolition contractor certainly would have covered such a situation. If this didn't resolve the matter, then the Fair Corp. could have filed a claim against the performance bond posted with them. If none of these actions were successful, then the Fair Corporation would have the option to sue the various parties (which we know for a fact was why the Fair Corporations business wasn't wound up until early 1972). 9) From a practical sense, the basement could simply not have been left intact and filled with debris. If it had, then in the intervening years after the demolition was completed the site would have filled up with water (basically becoming a very large swimming pool filled with debris and dirt) and turned the site into a swamp as the more porous items decomposed after being submerged for such a long period of time. Demo Rules and Regs.doc
  9. A different angle of a General Foods Arch

    Thanks for the info Bill.
  10. Seen on the closing day of the Fair

    The story of this exhibitor is actually quite interesting. The Fair Corporation assumed control of this property early in the 64 season and incorporated a new company that was staffed by Fair officials that were charged with finishing the building, finding exhibitors and running the operation for the duration of the fair.
  11. The End of New Jersey

    A demolition status report dated 4/20/66 states that the New Jersey pavilion demolition work was complete if that helps.
  12. A different angle of a General Foods Arch

    We had a mimosa on our property when I was a kid on Long Island in the 70's and I loved that tree. I remember that the leaves would fold up each night as it got dark outside and then reopen the next morning. I didn't know that they had died off. I also recall that my Grandfather transplanted a sapling from the tree at my great grandparents home in West Palm Beach, Florida around that time. In later years, this tree grew to gargantuan proportions due to the extended growing seasons in Florida and the tree ended up towering over the small single story house! The seed pods were huge.
  13. Speaking of dimming the lights for the nightly fountain and fireworks show, the Fair Corporation had a lot of trouble getting the exhibitors around the Fountain of the Planets to dim their outdoor lights each night for the show. This was one of Robert Moses major pet peeves, second only to his hatred of the Parker Bakery neon sign debacle. If I recall correctly, they even considered having the outdoor light circuits at each pavilion that ringed the fountain rewired to allow the Fair Corporation to control them, but they ended up abandoning that idea because of the cost. Moses instead resorted to having his staff verbally beat them all into submission with a flurry of phone calls and letters.
  14. Sad news - we lost a long-time member

    I'm saddened to hear of his passing and my condolences go out to his family and friends.
  15. One of the most boring things at the Fair?

    Not very private, is it? And where is the water closet?