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Hoodlock

World's Fair Icon

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Must reading on what becomes of a World's Fair Icon <a href="http://www.bayridge.com/jump.htm" target="_blank">http://www.bayridge.com/jump.htm</a>

And can someone tell me exactly where this structure stood along the lake in 1939

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Hood:

If you look at the 65 Guidbook "Access to the Fair" map The Parachute Jump would be below the Van Wyck Expressway between the n & W at the n in (Orange) parking.

This is based on my 1939 Guidbook of course. Which thankfully predates me!

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The space occupied by the parachute jump in 1939 was on a triangle of land that was delegated to the later constructed intersection of the Van Wyck and the L.I.E.

That tract of land was directly opposite the Garden of Meditation (NYWF64) on the Meadow Lake side of the present L.I.E.

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I was down in Coney Island last week and saw the Parachute Drop up close. Must have been a lot of gulps taken before going up that high. Would be even better if it were flood lit at night. Doubt it could be revived as an attraction after 36 years of inactivity but still functions as a sort of theme symbol for Coney Island and the new stadium there.

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Comparing a 1940 and a 1965 map, it appears the actual site of the Parachute Jump is now a part of the LIE. In 1940, that route was the World's Fair Boulevard. In any event, the Parachute Jump would have been in the proximity of the 1965 Log Flume Ride and across the Boulevard from the DuPont Pavilion (the 1965 site of the Belgian Village).

The Parachute Jump is not functional and in the late 1970's was denied landmark status on the National Registry. Called the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn, the Jump has been saved. It has been repainted and repaired and is now a National Historical Landmark. It may not be functional, but it is a symbol of Brooklyn and a great legacy of the World of Tomorrow.

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As a child I thrilled each time, I saw the Parachute Jump at Coney Island. I have 8mm film of my cousin riding on the Jump filmed in the late fifties. To imagine the tower at its original location just blocks from where I was raised is mind blowing. The fair planners had to locate the Jump as far as they could from the Trylon so they wouldn't compete with each other. If it wasn't moved, I doubt if it would have survived. I know it wouldn't, going by Mary Ellen's directions that I believe to be most accurate. The Van Wyck now runs over the foundations of what was once the site of the Parachute Jump. How exciting the fair of 1939 must have been as it stretched into the neighborhoods. The Jump could be seen for miles as you drove down Main Street. What I noticed about the 1939 fair is that it had more vistas. Buildings were grouped and aligned to create separate and distinct areas. As we know the 1964 fair, buildings were tossed about without any thought for their neighbors.

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In 1959, I drove from Springfield, Massachusetts to Coney Island with a friend, for the specific purpose of going on the Parachute Jump. We went up three times each.

I remember it as no other ride in any other amusement park. It was an exhilarating experience to say the least. Cost per ticket at that time was fifty cents as I recollect.

[This message has been edited by Ray in Pasadena (edited 08-28-2001).]

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Hood, if you look at some of the aerial photos of the 1939 Fair, you can clearly see the color scheme. The Trylon and Perisphere were the only structures allowed to be pure white. All succeeding rings of buildings were organized by rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, blue etc. There was an impressive master plan in 1939 far beyond just grouping buildings by topic or theme. You are correct in that the Fair had spectacular vistas. The view down Constitution Mall from the Theme Center, to the Lagoon of Nations and then to the Federal Pavilion must have been breathtaking. In addition, the '39 Fair made powerful use of sculpture and statuary to emphaszise and convey the theme. The 1939 Fair was twice the acreage of the 1964 Fair. It was 1216 acres while the second fair was 646 acres. In fact, the 1939 NYWF was the second largest fair in land size. The largest was the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 08-28-2001).]

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It's true that the '39/40 grounds covered more acreage but it is arguable that the true World's Fair section was roughly equivalent in both with most of the difference being the far larger amusement zone in '39/40. While it was popular it was like most amusement parks in those days considered "low brow", vaguely illicit (lots of attractions featuring scantily- clad girls) and something of an embarassment. Most Fair panoramic views and maps seem to omit or gloss over it. Robert Moses didn't want a "Coney Island" section to lower the tone at the relatively upscale '64/65 Fair,which would have been easy enough to do and would have generated substantial quick additional revenue. He thought it would repel more middle-class people than it attracted and destroy the atmosphere he wished to create at the Fair. Walt Disney felt the same way for his park.

The unified plan of the '39/40 Fair versus the free form '64/65 one is an issue that architectural critics seized on at the time as being a shortcoming for '64/65. Both were products of their era. The extremely controlled '39/40 Fair pretty much reflected how governments around the world saw their present and future role. In those days it was about creating the perfectly planned utopia for the "public". By the '60s it was about "people" and their diversity if R.M. had tried to impose such a controlled regime it would have been way out of step with the times.

[This message has been edited by Gene (edited 08-29-2001).]

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Thanks to a map sent to me by Ray Dashner, I now know that the Parachute Jump was located exactly where Hoodlock's gate now stands. How appropriate it was for me to use that site for my jumps.

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There is an odd hypocrisy in Mr Moses not wanting amusements at "his" fair in 1964. Virtually all of the so-called more intellectual exhibits were exactly that--amusements and, even worse, they were designed to sell products. GM, Ford, the Bell System, IBM and so on all involved rides and dramatic attractions designed to amuse and entertain. There is nothing wrong with this per se. But there is no denying the major NYWF pavilions, especially the Disney designed ones, were amusement centers.

If an amusement section is a sure fire way to draw crowds,it is hard to explain why Expo 67, a fair filled with pavilions that did NOT contain these rides and Disney presentations, attracted as many people in one year as NY did in two years. In fact,Expo's amusement area, La Ronde, was nearly a mile from the major pavilions on Ile Sainte Helene and had operated as an amusement park prior to Expo. People went to Expo in huge numbers because they had the chance to see the world. That opportunity was missing in New York in 1964-65, unfortunately, and was replaced with a Disney/corporate message packaged in amusements.

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I don't think there was hypocracy in trying to exclude crude attractions and thrill rides in favor of the more sophisticated Disney type presentations. Moses wanted to make the Fair entertaining but he didn't want the freak shows, baby incubators and midget towns that were present at earlier expositions. Maybe that in itself reflected a social change.

Whatever changes were made in the second season for the 39/40 Fair didn't result in greater attendance. The 1940 season drew about 19,000,000 down from 26,000,000 in 1939. A decrease similar to that experienced in the other two-season major U.S. World Fairs (Chicago '33/34 and New York of course '64-65) in the 20th Century. Probably no change whether high or low concept could buck that trend.

[This message has been edited by Gene (edited 08-31-2001).]

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Ken,

One other interesting contrast between Expo 67 and NYWF64/65 is that most of the buildings remained intact for amost 20 years. The exhibiton "Man and his World," which I understand utilized many of the Expo 67 exhibits, continued during the summer months until 1981 and Le Ronde continues to this day.

-John

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Very true John,

We were up there in 71. The place was still jumping and many exhibits were either still open or turned into different exhibits. Still going strong 4 years after Expo ended

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Yes, Terre des Hommes remained open until 1986. By then, only the pavilions on Ile Sainte Helene were in use while the pavilions on Ile Notre Dame had been removed or closed. Today, Parc Jean Drapeau is very much alive and the Expo Islands are a vital aspect of Montreal life. Many pavilions do remain. The two most well known are the French Pavilion (Le Casino de Montreal) and the US Pavilion (Le Biosphere). La Ronde is very popular and the huge ferris wheel is even lighted to resemble the official logo of Expo. The islands are the site of numerous festivals throughout the year and will host a major international swimming competition in 2003.

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