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Ned Merrill

Why are you interested in the 1964-1965 World's Fair?

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If you could put it into words, I think it would be very interesting to read.

As for myself, I've been wondering for years why I am so interested, maybe it has to do with its positive view of the future. And also the people who were in my life at the time, who are no longer here. Could the combintation of the pleasant memories and good feelings they bring be at the heart of it?

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My interest like many others here on this forum is because I attended the fair.For a teenager it was part of my coming of age experience.It was like have our own Disneyland in New York.I guess in the back of my mind I was always hoping there would be another fair in Flushing Meadows

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I visited the Fair near the end of summer in 1965 with my parents and sister. I had truly wanted to go and felt disappointment when cousins, friends, neighbors all visited but I did not. I believe I loved every inch of the place when I finally got there. It was sensory overload in many ways and endlessly fascinating and I wish I could do it all again. It was my last time with my father. He was a surgeon in a small town in upstate NY and never took time away from work but, this one time, he did. It was my first and only family trip as a kid. He died in his forties just two months later. I was thirteen.

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Sensory overload is the right word. I was five years old when I went in 1964. There was nothing else like the World's Fair when we were kids. Today in a world exposed to the internet, the world has become a much smaller place. Back in the early 60's we were all a little more innocent then the kids of today. The fair opened me up to so many new things I had never seen before. This Fair was and still is a unique time capsule for where we as a country were and where we hopped we would be.

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We lived in Howard Beach at the time of the fair. I was born in 1963 and I guess I visited in a stroller a couple of times.

I've been fascinated for years about what I missed, and would love to visit the park and see what's left in person.

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Where did you work? What part of the Fair and what did you do?

Worked for Greyhound - actually the official name was Greyhound at the worlds Fair. Inc and it was sort of separate from the Greyhound company. I didn't find that out until after the fair when I went to Greyhound and applied for a regular bus driver job, which I didn't get because aside from having incredible 20/05 eyesight I'm color blind; so then I applied for a job with the Pennysylvania railroad and they were all set to hire me as a fireman until I flunked the very last test, the color blind test. So then I took the NYPD test and came out #3 out of 25,000 applicants, not to mention various crazy jobs in between like working undercover on the Newark Docks - actually I didn't show up for that one because I didn't want to wind up in cement galoshes in the Newark River, nor did I like the idea of befriending guys just to rat them out...so I just went to college instead.

At the Fair I drove the Tour A Glide a Ride for all of the '64 season, except for opening day when I drove (tried to drive is more like it) the Grand Tour bus. For '65 I demanded to be switched to driving the Rapid Transit (big) bus around the perimeter, which was my usual stoopid downwardly mobile move because the GAR gig was much more fun (I gave a funny tour and got two (2) offers to go on the radio).

So that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

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Someone asked me a variant of this question a couple of days ago.  They asked, " So what was it like being at the World's Fair as a 13 year old?"

My reply--

"It was like being dropped on Mars"



 

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For me it was a great opportunity to exercise my photography skills in a marvelous sensory landscape, and building an extensive and satisfying portfolio of memorabilia. It was also an escape from the eventual boredom of being in town for months on assignment with AT&T.

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Wasn't born until a more than a decade after the gates closed - I find it a unique spot of optimism in a time when it seemed like the world was going downhill.  Also it's interesting to see the origins of much of today's communication and computing technology.

I did go to EPCOT Center when it was fairly new (1984) and I'd imagine it had a similar effect on me as the NYWF did for kids then.  Sadly, that version of EPCOT is mostly gone too.

Ironically, much of my interest in the NYWF came from seeing the Carousel of Progress that still runs at Disney World.

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3 hours ago, speedwell said:

Wasn't born until a more than a decade after the gates closed - I find it a unique spot of optimism in a time when it seemed like the world was going downhill.  Also it's interesting to see the origins of much of today's communication and computing technology.

I did go to EPCOT Center when it was fairly new (1984) and I'd imagine it had a similar effect on me as the NYWF did for kids then.  Sadly, that version of EPCOT is mostly gone too.

Ironically, much of my interest in the NYWF came from seeing the Carousel of Progress that still runs at Disney World.

Same feels and much of the same experiences, bro.

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The fair was the single most formative experience in my life. Dad worked adjacent on the river in Flushing and would be aware of any new aspect of construction and take me for a drive around the highways that bisected and encircled. Week by week the steel girders formed unreal shapes. 

Then the finished pavilions were lit and we started taking rides at night. Dad had been to the 1939 fair and wanted to make sure I fully experienced this one. Even the lamposts in that place were otherworldly! Don’t get me started on the monorail!! 

For a solid two years I was a kid waking up Christmas Morning.

You know those geese that follow ultralights, or any animal that has a substitute parent imprinted on them during an impressionable phase in their development? Well, the fair had that kind of impact on me.

What was the question? Oh yeah. 

It would take me a long time to explain my interest and then I am sure I could not express my feelings adequately. I feel like I’m grasping a handful of water; the tighter I squeeze the more it leaks away.

Like a quasar, the fair pulsates as one of those childhood memories shining just at the limits of comprehension and recollection. I joined PTU probably to learn more about Futurama specifically, but other members shared experiences awakened memories long forgotten. 

Born in 1957, I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of Freedomland too. 

So my interest is pure nostalgia for a happy period in my life when I became aware that people were devoting their lives to this thing called The Future. I won’t be authoring historical examinations on Moses or pursuing budget breakdowns, but if any hint of the fair is dangled before me I will happily waddle and flap my wings in pursuit. 

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I visited the fair in 1965 when I was six years old.

Some of my most vivid earliest memories are of the fair, I distinctly remember IBM, Bell Tel, GM, US, GE, and of course Small World and eating at some restaurant in the Belgian Village.

These pictures are pretty much burned into my brain as one of the most amazing places and times I've experienced.

So I come here, like so many of us, to re-visit my past.

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I have been to ten world`s fairs, the first being NY in 1964, at the age of eleven. I lived in Brooklyn at the time (still do), and was aware of its coming during construction, not fully understanding what it was to be. Then in May of 1964, my father announced we were going. By this time I was aware at how incredible a place it was, and had seen maps, photographs, and had heard first hand accounts from some classmates that had already attended. 

Walking the ramp from the subway, allowed me to see the amazing buildings, and the experience never diminished, for my next eleven visits. It is still my favorite fair, but the nine others I visited last one being Expo 2015, delivered the same excitement as I approached the gates. With the exception being Expo `85 in Japan, the others never really gave a look at an amazing hope for a fantastic future. They did provide a feeling for experiencing cultures from every part of the world, this is the one thing I did not feel from the `64 fair, not to fault the fair, but to realize I was only eleven, with a dream of tomorrow.

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