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Hoodlock

Chrysanthemums

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I have no photos of them but I am sure there out there somewhere. Yellow and brown Chrysanthemums were uprooted and placed inside handbags and purses, roots and all by the tens of thousands, the Pinks confiscated some. Most made it into the yards belonging to the last people to see the fair.

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Yeah, I never understood that thing about uprooting mums on the last day of the Fair. There is a famous photograph in Time magazine with the caption: "Looting To The Strains of Auld Lang Syne," and it shows women in nice hats and overcoats standing in World's Fair gardens and feverishly uprooting recently planted mums. Just what did they plan to do with them? And what would make an otherwise rational looking person stand ankle deep in topsoil and uproot flowers they will never replant anyway. They did not snip cuttings. They pulled the things up roots and all and walked away. For the record, many fairs ended with similarly stupid vandalism. Sometimes there was a warped logic behind the destruction ("they're going to wreck the place anyway so I thought I would take a shot at that statue of Ramses at the Egyptian Pavilion just for fun,") but usually it was just a demonstration of of the stupidty of human beings. On the final night of the Buffalo Pan American Exposition, for example, some oil can was arrested for tossing beer bottles at fairgoers from the top of one of the restaurants. As I said--stupidity.

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It's ancient history now but the flowerbeds and shrubbery along the malls and main walkways were supposed to continue on in the Post-Fair FMCP.

I was at the final game at the old Yankee Stadium in 1973. Just as the game began to near its end, people started pulling out all sorts of tools and began dismantling seats, railings, etc. Then when the game ended a strange euphoria set in and despite the presence of hundreds of police and security guards, all hades broke loose. Telephones were being ripped out of booths. Food service equipment was being ransacked. Advertising torn down. Even the signs in the subway station were getting stolen. Anything that could be carried away was and what couldn't be was destroyed. The whole scene looked like the vandals sacking Rome. All this by respectable-looking, middle class people.

People are scary sometimes.

[This message has been edited by Gene (edited 09-26-2002).]

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Speaking of old Yankee Stadium, one tragic story surrounding the looting that took place that day comes from Marty Appel, then the team's PR director in his book "Now Pitching For The Yankees." He had tried to make sure that a very rare item in the clubhouse be saved, the team's safe where players put their valuables, and which dated back to 1903, the first year of the team and had the names of the 1903 Highlanders stencilled on it. Incredibly, the 500 pound safe was ultimately swiped by the vandals too in the chaos of that day.

Another sad story of ballpark destruction concerns the Polo Grounds, just after the NY Giants played their last game in 1957. If you have ever seen the famous film of Willie Mays' catch in the 1954 WS, you'll notice a large number of plaques on the outfield wall. These were put up to commemorate Giants players and NY Giants football players who died in WWI and WWII, as well as some other greats in team history. By the time the Mets were playing in the stadium in 1962, all of those plaques had vanished off the outfield wall completely. To this day, only one of them has ever resurfaced, and that was when a baseball historian noticed one of them on sale in a collectibles store window.

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Wow Eric that is a sad story. An even sadder story about baseball was in the Richard Ben Cramer book about DiMaggio. The author claimed that the alleged theft of the 11 rings from DiMaggio never occured. That they were given in exchange for DiMaggio debts. Years later a friend of DiMaggio's recovered one & presented it to him as a gift. He supposedly said he didn't care about it originally & that is why he traded them for services.

Before his death the Yankees held a ceremony at the Stadium & presented DiMaggio with replicas of the "stolen" rings.

[This message has been edited by Mary Ellen (edited 09-26-2002).]

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I should add as a postscript that the one Polo Grounds plaque that was found, which in this case honored NY Giants football player Jack Lummus who was killed in WWII, was happily purchased by the Giants once they were alerted by the historian who spotted it and is now in the team's offices in Giants Stadium. Still missing are plaques honoring other war veteran players and important figures like Christy Matthewson, John McGraw and New York mayor Jimmie Walker.

I haven't read that DiMaggio bio, but I hadn't heard about that story about the theft of the rings not being true. I can remember watching that ceremony on TV, and if it was a sham, that's really unfortunate.

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Didn't know about the Polo Grounds plaques. It's pretty pathetic the Giants football and baseball teams didn't send someone with a screwdriver out to take them down before they moved out. Once something goes to the City Gov't's control (like ex-World's Fair buildings)I wouldn't expect to see it again.

A plaque disappeared out of Yankee Stadium after its closure in 1973 which commemorated Mickey Mantle's 500th home run. It was not on the CF wall but on the facing of the upper deck where the ball hit. After almost 30 years it reappeared at an auction or on e-Bay and it was spotted and recovered. Similarly and incredibly the Dodgers lone World Series championship flag (1955) in Brooklyn disappeared back then and recently turned up the same way. Sooner or later often the thief or someone else who bought it from them forgets it was stolen and puts these things in the public sphere.

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Not all of the flowers were taken home; some of the flowers were used to adorn the woman attending the Fair. The flowers were placed in their hair and attached to their garments. The Vatican posted guards at their entrance with orders to refuse admittance to anyone decorated with flowers.

At the gates to the Fair, mounds of confiscated item were amassing. If the guards turned their back for just a moment, the pickings that were accumulating would be gone.

The arrogance of man to create something so wonderful and then destroy it, as if in anger at his own mortality, makes the event so meaningful.

I would like to see the NYS Building reborn with a new purpose, but I couldn't care less about the innards of the General Electric Pavilion. The exhibit should be dismantled and scattered though out this great big beautiful country, to anyone who cares to own any of it (I think my dogs would like one of the wieners). The Carousel of Progress now belongs to the history of Disney, just as the Parachute Jump now belongs to the history of Coney Island.

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Regarding the 1955 Dodgers Championship banner, Gene, I have a commemorative book put out by the Daily News in 1995 that has a story on that. It seems that Newsday sportswriter Stan Isaacs was the one who stole it from a gathering in LA during the 1959 World Series when he felt he needed to steal it and take it back to Brooklyn. He turned it over to the Hall Of Fame on a temporary basis with the understanding that once a Brooklyn display could be found for it, he would reclaim it. Then there was a whole flap when years went by until the Brooklyn Historical Society agreed to display it and when Isaacs went back to the Hall, they wouldn't turn it over, evidently having forgotten after all those years that Isaacs had turned it over to them in the first place. It finally took an irate column by Isaacs and intervention by Peter O'Malley to get Cooperstown to turn the banner over to the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Given the manner in which Walter O'Malley stabbed Brooklyn in the back (Neal Sullivan's book "The Dodgers Move West" tries to exonerate O'Malley and put all the blame on Robert Moses incidentally, charging Moses with being too hades-bent to build a stadium only at Flushing Meadow as part of his overall park restoration plan. I've always felt this was a stretch), this was one theft that had a bit of poetic justice IMO.

[This message has been edited by Eric Paddon (edited 09-27-2002).]

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Sometimes it is not easy to get things back to their rightful place if any. I have a silver medal given to me as a gift. It was purchased at a garage sale in Orange County, NY. It is from the Astoria women's tennis championships 1930. It is beautifully engraved. I have been trying to give it to a museum. Not only are there no takers but no responses to my inquiries.

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I just heard on the radio that Brooklyn plans to spend five million dollars to renovate the Parachute Jump. The reporter stated that the plan is to return the ride (which closed in 1968) back to working order. The only other history that was given was that it once was a part Steeplechase Park, with no mention of the 39' Fair.

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Mary Ellen, perhaps the Museum of the City of New York would like the silver medal?

The Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

New York, New York 10029

2 12/534-1672 <a href="http://www.mcny.org" target="_blank">www.mcny.org</a>

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That's good news if they do plan to restore the Jump back to working order. I have a feeling that the success of the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team, which plays in the shadow of the Jump, has a lot to do with this.

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Didn't think it was possible to restore a ride like that and bring it up to contemporary safety standards. The structure will be approaching 70 years old when it's done. If so, though, it will attract a huge amount of attention I am sure.

I understood that it was originally modeled on the U.S. Army jump tower which trains paratroopers at Ft. Bragg, N.C. I believe it was moved between the '39 and '40 seasons to a different location on the fairgrounds. It looked pretty good when I was down there a few weeks ago.

The tower is so identified with Coney Island that whenever I mention to anybody that it was part of the 39/40 NYWF and was physically moved to Brooklyn they are amazed.

The tower site is actually separated from what remains of the amusement zone by a few blocks. Even with Keyspan (Cyclones) Park, which is very attractive and packs them in, Coney Island is still pretty seedy and has a long way to go to get back in the mainstream.

At least no one is suggesting casinos.

[This message has been edited by Gene (edited 09-27-2002).]

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House of Good Taste was where it was exhibited, if my I'm reading that catalog page correctly.

Rose, you could get one of these, plant it at your house, and give us a report later in the year.

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What a wonderful idea!!!

I could plant the "relatives" of the NYWF Roses. At last a world fair legacy I can own....sort of.

I wanted to plant more roses this year!

...and I do love roses, not just for names sake!

You know, I've got to look into this!

(...and the catalog is in my price range, too.)

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Oh, and I've contacted the still existing company about their roses! You know, I just may do this.

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