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Bill Young

Budd Structures from the '39 World's Fair

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Hood sent me this photo of the Budd structures from the '39 Fair. We had a discussion about those 4 disk-like objects that were discernable in aerial photos of early construction of the Fair and then disappeared from Flushing Meadows. For the life of me I can't find those posts!

Anyway, here is Hood's photo ... I'm assuming you wanted me to post this Hood?

Budd.JPG

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Thanks, Bill and Bruce.

Neat to see.

i wonder why they would have stood for 23 more years until ground prep for the Magic Skyway?

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The photo comes from a CD collection of Paul M. Van Dort. According To Paul, this is one of the low-resolution photos that are used for viewing the CD. He has a folder of 400 dpi TIF's and sells prints and enlargements.

The CD which contains 271 photos of the 39' fair sells for about $25 including s/h. Paul's web site is at <a href="http://www.pmphoto.to" target="_blank">http://www.pmphoto.to</a>

for more information - <a href="http://pmphoto.to/WorldsFair.htm" target="_blank">http://pmphoto.to/WorldsFair.htm</a>

PM Photo & Computer Services

Paul M. Van Dort

70 W. Sky Ranch Blvd.

Sparks, NV 89436

Phone (775) 425-1944 - Fax (775) 425-1991

Send E-mail to

mailto:Paul@pmphoto.to

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For your piece of mind Bill, you can find Budd at, <a href="http://www.nywf64.com/ubb/Forum8/HTML/000032.html" target="_blank">http://www.nywf64.com/ubb/Forum8/HTML/000032.html</a>

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I don't believe the pre-1964 Fair photo could be part of the 1939 Budd exhibit. The structure in the 1939 photograph posted here just looks too flimsy to have survived and the photograph has a different configuration of the discs and one is clearly missing. They must have something to do with 1964 Fair construction. There must be somebody who remembers Flushing Meadow Park in the years after the 1939 Fair and especially in the late 1950's when the ideas for construction were beginning. Very little of the 1939 Fair remained after the autumn of 1941. And with the need for scrap metal and the like (even the steel from the Trylon and Perisphere went to the War effort), it makes no sense that such a marginal structure would have remained. Everything else was demolished or relocated with the exception of NYC and the Amphitheatre. I am sure there must be somebody out there who lived near or visted the Park in those quiet years who would remember what that section looked like. I just don't think the photograph verifies it is a relic of Budd. The photo raises more questions than answers. But that's OK.

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I think you raise (sort of) an interesting question. Assumming that they were from 39/40, why were they left up? I can see how they escaped the scrap metal drive though. I don't think the government ever intentionally wrecked a useful structure just for its scrap metal things never got that extreme in WWII. The Trylon & Perisphere were never supposed to be permanent structures (indeed part of one of the structures tore off during a storm in the winter of 39/40). Their structural steel was bound for scrap in the normal course of things.

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Jim you may raise the question, however the answer will always be Budd.

The structures are not as flimsy as you have suggested. Remember we are talking about a company that makes rail cars. In fact, the Budd Company is known for a revolutionary welding process that put them ahead of the competition.

Look at the petal like shape of the construction, this is clearly seen in all the photos I have seen.

This may come of a shock to you but the Budd Buds are not the only things removed for the 64' Fair. I have been looking at the aerials (1961-1963) through a lens and discovered fountains that were removed. Also seen are small buildings along the north side of Meadow Lake that may have been a part of the Amusement Area.

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Hood, one factor to remember in locating '39/'40 holdovers- some substantial work, mostly lanscaping, was done in the park, mainly around the NYC Building in connection with the UN's tenancy. Probably wouldn't have impacted the lake area but anything near the current site of the Unisphere could well be postwar.

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Yet more trivia from my fuzzy memory:

Budd's welding process was called "shotwelding", which was a form of spot (resistance) welding. Much faster than arc welding or riviting or fastening.

Aren't you glad you asked?

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One advantage of my job is I work one block from the main Los Angeles Library. I just pulled out the NY Times Magazine for Jan. 17, 1960 which had a story called "A Walk Among World's Fair Ghosts". In it they describe the Park grounds as they stood then. I will try to post the whole thing later on, but it does mention one of the few things left from the 1939-40 Fair was - ready for this? - "Budd's stainless steel weathervane".

Bill

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From Hood's picture, they looked like loading platforms for vehicles. But they are refered to in the document I mentioned about site preparation for the '64 Fair as "shelters." Many of the larger parks in the city here have shelters for parkgoers -- mainly for picnics and gatherings. I don't think it's out of the question that they were seen as useful shelters appropriate for park use back in 1941 when the Fair was being demolished and the Park being established. Why build shelters when they already exist?

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It would make a lot of sense that they were used as bus shelters. Possibly for local Queens bus line extending into the Park. That area on the perimeter was where recreational facilities for the nearby neighborhood were built. If there are any historic 1940s era Queens bus maps out there it may show that as a stop/depot. Back then though NYC transit bus lines were mostly private operations so I doubt you would find a single comprehensive source.

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Is it possible that the Budd buds were just left behind? That in time their removal became a matter of cost. There weren't any bus routs that service that part of the park then or now. The Japanese Teahouse would have remained too, if it were not for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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After reading "A Walk Among World's Fair Ghosts," I find it even harder to believe the images in the photograph could be the surviving Budd exhibit. They are clearly not weathervanes and even if Budd did build bulletproof railway cars, this does not mean that they built their own exhibit structure. Flushing Meadow Park was a hallowed ground to those who cherished memories of their World of Tomorrow in the years between the two fairs. And the whole thing was all destroyed or moved. My 1940 New Yorker magazine map of the NYWF does show the Budd exhibit. It clearly portrays the four circular roofs and under each is a circular foundation, but they are separate from each other. Every image I have seen shows the four roofs as separate and not overlapping each other. Possibly--possibly--what that photograph shows is the foundations of three of the Budd structures which may have been unearthed at the time the construction for the second fair begain in 1962.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 10-04-2002).]

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Jim, I am pretty well convinced myself that those items are the Budd structures. A look at the various Progress Reports shows the same patterns in the roofs as can be seen in the b&w photo below. My guess is that the weathervane mentioned in the "Ghosts" article was a part of these structures.

By the way, all of the Progress Reports only show 3 discs, even the photos from before they began construction, so the maps showing 4 discs are probably in error (just like the showboat on some 1964 maps!)

[This message has been edited by billcotter (edited 10-03-2002).]

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There are significant changes to New Yorker's maps thoroughout 1939 and again in 1940. They published two different maps each year. If they made the changes that they did, it does not make sense that they would ignore Budd and continue to portray it, on four consecutive maps, in a manner that was incorrect. I have a ton of 1939 photographs. I will try to find a clear shot of the Budd exhibit. I still suspect that if this is Budd in some form, it is the foundation blocks of the exhibit because on every map, they appear as circular.

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Jim,

If you look closely at the photo below, you will notice a shadow from the rising pylons of the Ford Rotunda. I figure the time to be around 2:30 in the afternoon in January of 1963?

ford_disks.jpg

Now look over to the Budd structures and you will see they also cast a shadow to the northeast. If they were only foundations they would not be up high enough to cast those long shadows.

There are two more 1939 structures in this photo, and I believe they both still exist. These are the electrical power substation concrete mounting pads, linked together by the left-most vertical line with the black dots, showing the two locations. One sits just west of the former Press Building.

They are clearly designed in the Art-Deco style. Still more exist on the northeast side of the fairgrounds near the Porpoise Bridge and Park Maintenance Building.

Randy.

[This message has been edited by AMFMonorail (edited 10-04-2002).]

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Randy I thought Pierre said the substation pads were poured (concrete) for the 1964 WF. I could be wrong. In remarkable shape if they are from 1939.

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Mary Ellen,

Now that you mention it, I'll have to take a closer look at the photos from that era.

I'll drag out the early 1964-65 Progress Reports and see when they first show up.

Thanks,

Randy.

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Progress Report #4 January 17, 1962

number4.JPG

I'm not sure I see the concrete pads?

[This message has been edited by MitchS (edited 10-04-2002).]

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All,

Mary Ellen was correct. I wrongly assumed because of the Art-Deco influenced design that the structures were recycled from the 39-40 fair. The transformer pads were indeed constructed for the 64-65 fair.

I scanned Progress Reports 4 through 7 for that specific area and you can clearly see the construction over time.

January, 1962:

disks_4.jpg

May, 1962:

disks_5.jpg

September, 1962:

disks_6.jpg

January, 1963:

ford_disks.jpg

Still trying to find supporting evidence for the Budd Shelters.....

Take care,

Randy.

[This message has been edited by AMFMonorail (edited 10-04-2002).]

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