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Irv Gleaner

I Want to Rebuild a Pavilion!

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OK, here's my proposition.

I got some land and unlimited financial backing. I want to rebuild a full size working pavilion with all the original ride mechanisms and displays inside.

The question is, does anyone have a complete set of the original architectural and engineering drawings to make this a reality? I would need all the details, not only of the building, but of the ride propulsion system and the displays themselves.

This reconstruction would be an exact working reproduction of a NYWF pavilion, down to the smallest detail, including the exterior lighting and landscaping.

Is there sufficient information available to do this, or has everything been lost to history? Also, would this be a copyright infringement?

And, if multiple plans are available, what pavilion would you choose, ignoring the cost. I would personally prefer one of the big industrial buildings to really make an impact.

I intend to make this single reconstruction part of an extensive museum dedicated to the NYWF and have as its crown jewel a working pavilion illustrative of what was lost with the total demolition of the fair. It is my hope that this total immersion experience would act as a catalyst sparking public interest in possibly building another exposition.

Also, would anyone here volunteer in help in operation of the pavilion when it is completed?

Is my idea feasible or not?

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That's indeed one whopper of a project Irv!

Three of the most popular "ride" pavilions (Pepsi, G.E., and Ford) were designed by Disney, who retained the rights. There's no way they'd let you duplicate Small World. And they might play hardball on Progessland too (Carousel of Progress at Disney World). Maybe you could get them to let you rebuild the Magic Skyway, if you included a tribute to Walt.

Now that would be VERY ambitious- a reproduction of the entire Ford Pavilion, complete with mint condition 1964 convertibles.

Kevin "Yadda Yadda"- right here on PTU, has quite a bit of blueprint stuff on the Ford Pavilion that he got from the Ford archives.

Other major ride possibilities-

General Motors. Again, that pavilion would be VERY ambitious to reconstruct. I'll bet it would cost about 20 million or more in 2007 money.

U.S. Pavilion- now that would be a VERY COOL pavilion to rebuild, along with the ride and exhibits inside. Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society"- a snapshot in the mid-60's. Perfect!

Bell Pavilion- they had a ride that was interesting.

P.S.- it won't take long for some of our enthusiasts here to try to talk you into building a 1939 pavilion. Nothing wrong with that too! Of course if you're thinking Jetsons/Space Age/Googie, '64 is the way to go.

P.S.S- some of the monorail cars survive down in Texas, though rusty. Would you like to get some of them running again?

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Another thought-

if you offered to "remove" the New York State Pavilion (minus the theater)- both the rotunda/tent and the towers- from it's current location, and leave lush green grass in it's place-

AT NO COST TO THE PARKS DEPARTMENT- I wouldn't be surprised if they said yes!

You could then re-erect it elsewhere and include a full restoration to 1964 condition at the same time.

There are blueprints on eBay right now. And general information posted here on PTU, including diagrams, on how they jacked up the roof to install it. In theory, the same procedure could be reversed to disassemble it, and then re-erect it at another location.

Too bad you weren't able to rescue the Christian Science Pavilion last year- it was basically offered free too! But no takers, so they were finally forced to demolish it to make room. That was classic '64 NYWF architecture too, though on a smaller scale than some of the mega-sized industrial pavilions.

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Irv,Best idea I`ve heard yet.How about The Tower of Light? I`d be the first one on line to see it.Good Luck with the project.Keep us informed on your progress-Jerry

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Irv - Great idea!!!

NYState is my choice. I doubt the State would object. Saving the original would be even nicer. I am in, I will help.

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Yowlza!

What an amazing thought, Irv! And yes, Randy's right-- a 39'er like me me would selfishly love to see the Trylon and Perisphere rise again-- but if you've really got the unlimited backing, why not step up and be the hero who can finally rescue the New York State Pavilion? Since the folks in charge are basically just waiting for the Tent and Towers to fall down at this point-- you could not only prevent that from happening-- but also ensure that the NYSP has a new and continuing life as any number of things; be it a museum, outdoor concert venue, or simply restored to its former glory for new generations to visit. Many have speculated here in the past that if someone ever appeared with the desire and the funds in place to bring the NYSP back to life-- the job would finally get done. Could you be the man for that job? I know a whole lot of us sure hope so-- and would do just about anything we could to help you get it done.

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Irv,

Since you have a lot of acreage and unlimited financial backing, you MUST rebuild the GENERAL MOTORS FUTURAMA II.

This was the greatest exhibit ever created by an industrial giant for a world's fair. The original cost was an estimated $65 million.

I am one of few people on earth who possess the original 33 page specifications for FUTURAMA II as well as the construction details of the FUTURAMA RIDE mechanism.

I will be very happy to impart these details to you when and if your final decision is made.

Ray Dashner

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how about just reconstructing the tower of the four winds? well, its not a pavilion per say, but its so awesome to look at.

this is getting to be one hard choice on a specific pavilion! i wish you luck, and as the saying goes : If you build it, WE WILL COME!

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If the funds are truly unlimited the obvious answer is NYSP. I'm sure the Parks Dept. would take a meeting with someone with unlimited funds to rescue a relic.

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GENERAL MOTORS FUTURAMA II.

The original cost was an estimated $65 million.

Boy did I underestimate that one! My $20 million guess wouldn't even turn over any dirt.

Multiply $65M by about seven to account for inflation. That comes out to $455M.

Then add 50% for all the environmental impact reports and political realities you'll have to deal with that didn't exist in '64, partly due to Robert Moses' political connections.

We're up to $683 million.

I'm glad you have unlimited resources.

Even with just the inflation-adjusted $455M, can you image an American industrial corporation spending half a billion dollars today for a temporary World's Fair Pavilion? What would their stockholders say?

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Irv said his pavilion re-creation proposal is just one "part of an extensive museum dedicated to the NYWF".

If the chosen re-creation turned out to be restoring the NYS Pavilion and was contingent on having a NYWF museum next door, that alone would kill any discussions with the Parks Dept. They have previously said the area doesn't need any more museums.

But they might be more than willing for somebody to take the thing off their hands and move it elsewhere. It would be smarter to reconstruct it on private property- a premise of Irv's proposal- and get it out of the public government entanglements.

Question- the big concrete colums which hold up the tent roof, and support the observation decks. They were probably poured in place, rather than pre-fabbed, right? Which might make it impossible to disassemble them or relocate them. They might have to be re-poured at the new location (on a sound foundation this time), and then re-erect the refurbished metal parts- the roof, observation decks, elevators, escalators, etc. Then the old concrete towers in FMCP could be dynomited (rather than leave them behind like Stonehenge) and the ground seeded over to make Parks happy.

As for the original Kelwall (sp?) roof, probably if the restoration contractor shopped around they could find something that appears the same to a viewer, but would have more long-lasting properties, so they wouldn't start falling off after 10 years. After all, technology has moved along 40-plus years.

BUT...Irv mentioned that he would like his blast from the past Pavilion to be one with a ride in it. While it was great to look at, NYS wasn't a "dark ride" pavilion, or any kind of ride for that matter.

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If you want a 'ride" that still exists and is just sitting there not being used (but in pretty good shape), the '39 Life Savers parachute tower is sitting right there at Coney Island with a fence around it.

The only thing preventing you from buying it and moving it would probably be that somebody had it declared a Historical Landmark. That's something we would normally ADVOCATE if it results in it being preserved. In this case it could mean a whole bunch more red tape to acquire it and move it.

Let's see, what else had any kind of "ride" that could be replicated?

.....would anybody seriously contemplate re-creating the entire Vatican Pavilion, with the three-level moving sidewalk in front of a Pieta replica, and an audio-animatronic Pope Paul waiving from the balcony?

I'm not sure any American Catholic diocese has the kind of money any more that was needed in '64 to put that Pavilion together either. Other than the art loans out of Rome, wasn't the pavilion paid for by the New York diocese?

The Billy Graham Pavilion would be cool (it advertised "air conditoned" back then), if you could re-create the super widescreen Todd-AO movie that was shown there. Sadly, all prints appear to be totally lost to history.

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I can't choose between GM or GE. Both fantastic architectures that even today would not seem dated.

But if we're given unlimited space and funding why not both ?

In regards to NYSP, also a great idea but if we're talking a different location for it then it would be cheaper and easier to rebuild it from scratch. With all the rot and decay it's suffered, it may not be possible to disassemble it without destroying it.

Oh, and Mr. Cotter, how much for that bridge you mentioned ?

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First, a reminder that the main content of one pavilion has been restored - the Johnson Wax Golden Rondelle, with the full 3-screen movie, in Racine WI.

Secondly, besides the previously mentioned choices (with which I agree as good choices), I am also thinking of the IBM pavilion and its "people Wall".

- Wayne

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One comment about the People Wall. It was meant to handle high volume traffic. Maybe 50 million a year?

In one 'lift' it was big enough to carry probably a couple of hundred people.

Looking at pictures of it, as it starting lifting up with all those people, I'm sure there were comments and 'wow's' going up from everywhere. It capitalized on the large crowd experience.

Now consider the same thing- same size- lifting up with maybe 5 people on it, which is what you might expect at a permanent museum. The gee whiz aspect would be greatly diminished. Plus, you'd have to hire somebody to be the drop-down-from-the-ceiling narrator on his sky platform. Just to explain things to scattered handfuls of people.

Better to build a pavilion with a dark ride with individual cars or seats which could be 'launched' based on need, rather than launching empties most of the time.

GM, Ford, Pepsi, U.S. Pavilion, and AT&T Bell (the latter not just cars, but individual seats) would qualify, G.E. and IBM would not. Maybe not the Tower of Light either, although if you did the 1964 version it would be cheaper.

I'm not sure about the Trylon & Perisphere, but if democracity didn't have any moving parts (if people's legs provided the motive power) then it would be okay.

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Here's another thought. Rather than bankroll the reconstruction of a very expensive corporate pavilion (the rights to which probably won't be available, anyway) and then try to recreate an elaborate, 40+ year-old brick and mortar vision that will only appeal and/or be accessible to a very few-- why not underwrite Lori Walters and her student crew who are working hard on their digital, virtual fair? I'm sure the right funding could help them immeasurably, not to mention speed their already impressive progress. Plus, with the right combo of continued research and resources-- they could also recreate the pavilion's rides and interiors as well-- not unlike the Monsanto Inner Space attraction which was painstakingly crafted by a Disney enthusiast and is now available on DVD. In that way-- the fair would still be capable of admitting new guests for generations to come-- and long after your new/old pavilion had gone the way of its Flushing Meadow predecessors.

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Here's another thought. Rather than bankroll the reconstruction of a very expensive corporate pavilion (the rights to which probably won't be available, anyway) and then try to recreate an elaborate, 40+ year-old brick and mortar vision that will only appeal and/or be accessible to a very few-- why not underwrite Lori Walters and her student crew who are working hard on their digital, virtual fair? I'm sure the right funding could help them immeasurably, not to mention speed their already impressive progress. Plus, with the right combo of continued research and resources-- they could also recreate the pavilion's rides and interiors as well-- not unlike the Monsanto Inner Space attraction which was painstakingly crafted by a Disney enthusiast and is now available on DVD. In that way-- the fair would still be capable of admitting new guests for generations to come-- and long after your new/old pavilion had gone the way of its Flushing Meadow predecessors.

wow that is a great point....i am sure she would be THRILLED to have such funding.

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To My Fellow World’s Fair Enthusiasts;

I have a re-occurring vision and dream, almost like Christmas morning, but only much better. It is the wonder and awe of discovering the majesty and technology of a major world’s fair pavilion for the first time.

Nothing can ever quite prepare you for your first experience to the architectural wonder and technical achievement that is a fair pavilion, especially the major industrial types in which you got to ride through a building and a narrator in stereophonic sound explained the future to you. What a sense of joy and wonder it was!

Now imagine putting dozens of these pavilions together, making a new world’s fair, and visualizing the excitement it could create in today’s young people, a generation which never got to experience the magic that most of us on this forum have witnessed.

This country could surely use some good news, something upbeat and uplifting at the same time. What great things has this country accomplished lately? It seems to me that the last great expression of national pride was when we sent men to the moon. It made us glad to say we were Americans, and the world truly looked up to us in ways which are no longer being realized. We sorely need something to put us back on top again!

My dream and vision, unfortunately, remain just that – a dream and a vision in which I have neither the resources nor talent to make a reality. I had hoped to share some of my excitement with you by offering this vision, and to that, I sensed your share of excitement as well. If I had misled some of you into thinking I could finance it all, I apologize. It was only my intent to share my thoughts with you. How we all wish it could come true, especially myself.

I had hoped my hypothetical proposition could have furthered the dream by exploring the possibility of learning whether comprehensive architectural drawings of pavilions still exist complete with plans for the mechanics of their exhibits.

I see some of you have agreed that to accomplish this plan requires acreage far from the bureaucracy which always threatens to thwart ambitions. Even Disney, in his wisdom, wrestled complete control over his empire from the local bureaucrats with their zoning constraints.

If I were to choose an exhibit to recreate, it had to be one with major emotional impact, creating an experience which would not be forgotten. NY State, dear to our hearts and majestic to look at in its day, lacked impact in the way the ride-through exhibits did. I had narrowed down my list to GM, Ford, Bell and GE. General Electric, already replicated by Disney, is loosing its luster as time progresses. Ford, with the exception of its rotunda, was an ordinary looking box of a building. But GM and Bell were both architectural breakthroughs. Bell was possibly the best example of design, but GM had the more interesting exhibit. From this logic, and confirmed by attendance records, the real crowd pleaser had to be General Motors. This is the pavilion I would have chosen to replicate.

I only wish my vision could come true. Unlike Christmas morning, which we all knew would return every year, the fair was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s gone, but not forgotten.

My dream to crate a permanent World’s Fair museum, with a recreated General Motors exhibit as its centerpiece, remains my vision to excite today’s generation in getting America to do something great once again. We need to rekindle the spark of national pride which once made us all proud to be a part of this great country. And the World’s Fair certainly earned us a place of honor in the community of the world.

Perhaps my dream will always remain just that. But by putting my thoughts into words, there’s always the slim hope that someone out there with the right resources might read this and come forward to help. After all, we can still believe in miracles, just like Christmas morning.

Irv

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BRAVO!

The choice favoring General Motors Futurama II is certainly appropriate! Irv, the collection plate is about to be passed around amongst the millions who actually rode the original, starting with my C-note! We ought to be able to raise $450 million or so if we all pitch in. Let's locate it back in FMCP where it rightfully belongs!

Ray Dashner

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