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The Entire Transportation Zone February 1939 Construction

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Hi All,

Early February,1939 - so much to do!!! We are looking due south. I have labelled some things that can be seen here and some to be added. The date is correct - I have confirmed it with prints and slides I have. I can't see very much of Goodrich. Chrysler so pre-mural it looks post-mural. I wonder if it was a late addition and that is partly why it failed? GM Highways and Horizons facade is under scaffold - in November it was bare ground. Fast going on!

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Febraury 1939, Transportation Zone under construction © EKL Images

Best wishes,

Eric

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Thanks for all the labels- that helps those of us who don't know the '39-40 Fair as well as the '64-65 one. It's a nice shot.

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Hey Eric, what was the Maritime building used for in 1940? MY New Yorker map shows it empty during the second season.

Jim

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Yeah, really. I wonder why the exhibit was not renewed in 1940. And even when it was not, there should have been some other purpose for the place but, then, maybe not. Those twin prows sort of narrowed the possible interpretations of the architect's ideas for the building's use. My 1940 map has the pavilion but it is unlabeled.

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Hi Jim, Bill :)

That building was indeed a superb design - echoing the bow of Normanie and those great liners. It was 90-feet tall. Also, the mosiac mural and cowl vent lighting is often overlooked. A little bit of the mural and the vents can be seen below; lights were inside the cowl vents and illuminated the mural. Agree about the repurposing of this building, but the guts of this exhibit wound up inside the renamed Communications and Maritime Transport Building which is sort of a stretch as well. Apart from the boat behind RCA, what any of that has to do with Mariime Transport I don't know at the moment. This 1940 image shows the vents were not repainted.

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1940 NYWF Ex- Maritme Building/"Z1" © EKL Images 2014

Best wishes,

Eric

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Another thing I've noticed about the Transportation Zone is that the Aviation Pavilion seemed to get little attention. You'd think that, since air travel was financially out of the reach of the majority of Americans at that time, this exhibit would have been a major attraction. Any comments on that Eric?

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I've often thought that the design of the building representing an airship entering a hangar was out-of-date by the time the Fair opened. There had been a number of stunning airship crashes in the early part of the decade (R101, Akron, Macon) and, of course, there was the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937. There had been other spectacular crashes in the 1920's (Roma and Shenandoah in particular). And the Akron, the pride of the US Navy, had three accidents prior to its fatal crash in April of 1933.

While airships and hangars were a part of the Democracity display in the Perisphere, the reality that rigid airships were not the wave of the future had to have hit home by 1939. I don't know if that affected the popularity of that pavilion but it must have rendered its design obsolete before it even opened.

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Hi Expo, Jim,

Jim raises good points. And also about Democracity - there was the hangar that floated and could be rotated, so this mode of tranportation was still in the running to some degree. The building was well receieved as far as I know, it was mentioned enough in the writings of the time and in the books we read. I'm sure Bill covered it well in his book, and the othe projects I have worked on etc. make mention of the design. It was featured in the NBM show and praised for its innovative design. The Aviation Bar and Grill was a very popular spot to eat (and why not, 35 cents for a ham dinner with potato, veg, drink, cofee, desert etc) and the exhibits of large planes out in front always seem to grab attention. These planes often get lost in the images. In the photo I supplied the NBM there is a huge plane sitting there on the lawn, but it is easily missed. One could note this building at least stayed open, unlike the Maritime Transportation Bulding. The interior of the hangar bit was actually emplyed as a backdrop when seen from inside, and full size fighter planes and others were hung from the ceiling in dramatic arrangement of dog-fighting. It does not seem to have been photographed much (the interior). I have only two images of this display. As for its appearance, I think it was a little too blocky and large scale in its presentation, and perhaps up close you could not readily appreciate the intent. Probably seemed a good idea on paper. I like it well enough. Certainly more ambitious than...Chrysler. Not as stylish as...Firestone. I have not seen it in color at night though, and that can make al the difference. It is incredible in b/w at night now that I think of it - a very cohesive design - but into itself, not in the context. It would have looked good next to the 8th Ave subway entrance, but those are both either earlier designs and/or Fair Corp structures so that should not surpriise. Look at the Wings sculpture by Whitney (?) over by the Auacade, at night it is just a different thing entirely. By day that sculpture appears aluminum, and at night it looks like lucite lit internally by neon. Even the GM bolt did not have this dramatic a change at twilight. I might guess the Aviation Building was light with bright primary colors in addition to white floodlighting- there was a lot of greena and red in this Zone with regard to lighting.

Best wishes,

Eric

It is interesting - liner crossing as I write about it was outmoded by the 50's of course and replaced by the jet age. The close of the Maritime building echoes this in a way. Digibles were on the way out, but jets were certainly on the way in. It might be interesting to compare the visions and realities of the 39 and 64 exhibits and our current "today."

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I just scanned some nice shots of the Aviation Building and the planes outside about two weeks ago. They're in my restoration queue but I'll make a note to get to them relatively soon.

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That "Wings" sculpture by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney continues to evade me to this day. According to a number of accounts, it was saved after the fair-- and moved to LaGuardia Airport. But no sign of it there now-- and nobody at The Whitney-- the artist's famous namesake museum in Manhattan-- seems to know what happened to it, either.

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That "Wings" sculpture by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney continues to evade me to this day. According to a number of accounts, it was saved after the fair-- and moved to LaGuardia Airport. But no sign of it there now-- and nobody at The Whitney-- the artist's famous namesake museum in Manhattan-- seems to know what happened to it, either.

Hi Trey, Bill :)

Trey - one day I will get this out for you. I agree this sculpture is one of the best there. Is the medium noted? I can't get over the stainless-steel-by-day-transparent/neon-by-night change. The Singing Tower sort of did this, and Du Pont not,...I am at a loss to name anything that became radically different by night such as this. The Corona Gates at night are startling. This Whitney sculpture also stood well alone, without the larger context from the placement The Moods of The Astronomer. This is really beautiful. Until I find the slide, this furnishes a little taste. I have posted it before, but it bears repeating. The original transparency ois sharp and strong. It has the moon in it...dreamy Fair, 1939 Kodachrome*:

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The Whitney sculpture in quick-taste-format specially posted for Trey 1939 NYWF © EKL Images

Bill, I was in a box of a few hundred 8x10's and found the "best" candid of the planes hanging in the ...hanger...in simulated dog-fight position. It is superb. I will try to scan soon. It is better than the press photo I have! I had several images of a cute litte boy near or in the outdoor plane - they reside in a collection of a member here. If this building was underrated I am not sure why as I think about it.

In related news, I also found some candids of some train exhibit which may be Budd, that shows a modern streamlined train in half, so you can see the interior in operation. Not the engine view as much as the "people" view. I believe this was something you could board and try. Also some other things I saw - illuminated maps that may be from the Communication Zone but not the ones I know. All this stuff came from Peter Warner. I am sure may of you have prints from the Warner collection - did he sign the backs of your photographs as much as mine? Kenny Schultz used to monogram, then stamp, a lot of stuff that passed through his hands (as if the cat hair was not enough) - not a habit I am fond of. I don't mark and only handle to authenticate/grade - after that all is in plastic. I don't handle anything after that, and all scans are shot through plastic. Light pencil marks...ok...but still...

Eric

* I keep thinking this is in the Tranposrtation Zone but it was Amusements, right? I am guessing this came with a mized lot of night images from 1939 and 1940 including closing night which was the unexpected find. The other find was a bunch of night Transportation slides and this. Oh, and Hienz and that stuff at night. I must have the all grouped together in the filing cabinet upstairs.

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Hello Peoples :)

I was on a trek into some envelopes again and I found some photographs of some stuff I don't we have seen before in the Aviation building, the usual in superb quality, but an interior that blew me away. I mentioned it above thinking it was a train (the cross-section bit) but...it is a modern plane! More Warner stuff, candids these. I will post soon in a dedicated thread. I also found a full size "Ice Crystal Forest" with cards and glistening frozen palm trees inside Chyrlser (? it is labeled) that looks more like a gaint Macy's window in 2039. New way to see this Fair. Looks like Wonka land.

Best wishes,

Eric

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