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magikbilly

A GOOD View! The Great Compass from the Obs. Platform 1939

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Hi All,

Another slide for you - this a b/w from a faded Kodachrome that contains the single best photo OF the Great Compass I have seen. This area of orientation, the spot where the Helicine touched the Earth with the gazing Astronomer and the time-telling Sundial was where it was all happening for me! How to tell if it was 1939? Well, no cyclone fence around the Great Sundial, no entrance added to the mall side of Medicine and Public Health building and no info booth in th middle of the Compass. Imagine a time - nothing to stop you from falling into the pool - no rail nothing - just common sense and good behavior (although it must have happened numerous times).

Enjoy :flowers:

MB aka Eric

GREATCOMPASSptuCekl2007.jpg

The Great Compass, Theme Center of the New York World's Fair of 1939 © EKL Image Collection

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Great pic, MB-- and interesting point about common sense and good behavior.

David Gelertner, brilliant Yale professor, (nearly fatal) Unabomber victim, and author of 1939: The Lost World of the Fair (a must-read for any fan of the NYWF) once called it "the Religion of Ought." As in, one "ought not" jump in the fountains or deface buildings and sculpture. One "ought" to dress and behave respectably in public. Putting aside rose-colored views of "The Good Old Days," there still seemed to be back then a strong and collective societal sense of the things one "ought" and "ought not" do that is increasingly missing from our modern lives.

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Hi Trey,

I know that book - lotta Fair mistakes - FICTION. But interesting for the night photo of the Democracity!

I had to rewrite my text - I see it did not make sense - gremlins? Sleepy Billy?

MB

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Of course, there's no question it's fiction-- but it's beautiful fiction, nonetheless. And Gelertner's non-fiction book DRAWING LIFE, which details his painful physical and emotional recovery after nearly losing his life to a package from Ted Kaczynski (where the "Religion of Ought" reference comes from) is also quite a powerful read.

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Hi Trey,

Well yes, it did paint a certain image of the Fair and a good one, but it kept flipping from 39-040 and drove me nuts. As far as the lack of railing this started with - do you think that could be done today? Lawsuits etc?

MB

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Here's another unusual view that includes the Compass:

39-post-fair.jpg

I wonder how long they left things like the Compass in place. I was surprised they just didn't pull it all up when they took down the Trylon & Perisphere. Just like with the 1964 Fair, a few buildings were left in place. Anyone know which ones they were and how long they lasted?

Thanks to John Pender for the loan of the photo.

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Well Bill,

That is the best photo I have seen posted here! That is a little more than the Great Compass! Thank you! I need to look at it for some time. Thanks! The one thing my collection lacks is a demolition photo. That photo is late '41 early '42? Stupendous! A lot is revealed about the design of the Fair from looking at the placement of trees etc. Excellent image. I am sure Trey will love it!

I do not know what was left where for how long but I don't think this much remained for very long after 1942 or so.

MB

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Oh man. What an incredible photo. What a depressing photo. What an incredibly depressing photo.

Seriously, once again, an amazing pic like that really bring home what I've repeatedly said about Flushing Meadow Corona Park. The whole place is completely full of ghosts. So many incredible things and people and one-of-a-kind experiences have come and gone there.

Artistically, architecturally, innovatively, socially, politically, and entertainingly speaking... it is truly hallowed ground.

Thank you SO much for sharing that one, Bill and John.

-Trey

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Hi Trey,

Oddly, I do not find that photo depressing at all. That place was just not meant to last and I actually find it more interesting than depresing.

It is very disorienting when first viewed and something of the mystery of the spacial relations between buildings in 1939 and the existing locale that Don and I have discussed is revealed here - although I am not sure just what that might be. Something to do with horticulture and vertical construction and deliberate construction on a scale we won't be seeing again. Say, anyone with a demolition photo for sale/trade?

MB

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Hi again,

it is 6:38 AM and I gotta be up in 5 hours, but I just noticed the Star Pylon in the Communications Zone, and I think the WPA. I have not had mucvh time at all tonight to look at this but I will and ID what I see in the next day or so. Obviously that is the NYC Building and Masterpieces of Art above to the left. I can not decipher as of yet the mess in front of the NYC Building facing us - nothing much was there so I don;t know what all thta is, and the roadworks have been altered in some areas. It is odd the entire pool of water in the Plaza of Light, of considerable size, is gone and the base of the Four Victories is still there. If I maypos this I will mark these items and things. Night

MB

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Somewhere here on PTU a few years ago we had a topic with some pictures of what the exterior of the NYC Building and the area in front looked like, when it was the United Nations headquarters in the late 40's.

I seem to remember a semi-circle of flags and driveway where the limos would pick up and drop off the diplomats, and the armillery sphere that the U.N. eventually moved to Geneva, Switerland when the U.N. abandoned their Flushing Meadow home. I think we found a Swiss postage stamp that has that armillery sphere on it, the one that used to be in Flushing Meadow.

I thought those late 40's photos were kind of interesting.

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In one sense, that astounding photograph is depressing and that is for anyone who would give a body part

to have seen that great exposition. On the other hand, this photograph captures a moment in time and it is

fascinating beyond words. I am trying to imagine what it must have been like for those who loved that fair

to walk those grounds as we see them in this photograph, to see traces of what once was.

MB is correct. It was never meant to last. Even as much as Montrealers loved their fair that they

understandably held onto it long after it closed, its landmark structures began to fail and deteriorate. That

would not have been a good fate for the 1939 NYWF or of any of the great fairs. Therefore, I can view this

image as profoundly interesting more than view it as depressing. I think of the grafitti found on the wall of

a home in ruined Pompeii: "Nothing Last Forever."

Thank you VERY much for this truly remarkable photograph.

PS: I see several remaining structures in the upper right of the photograph and another in the lower right

corner. And is that the Administration Building in the upper left?

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Nice photo Bill (and John) :thumbsup:

I always love the aerials!

(Especially the one's from Mars - right Doug? :-" )

While the angles are slightly different, here's a pretty good comparison of how that particular area looked during and after the 1939-1940 Fair...

Philco imprinted NY Guide001.pdf

Best Regards,

Kevin

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Hi Mary Ellen

Calling Trey! I can tell you when this was taken, what direction, name most all buildings etc - but I have no idea where Shea Stadium is!

MB

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If I'm following Mary Ellen's lead correctly, take your eyes to the tip of the Trylon... then look at the tiny square-ish white building with three windows across the top which stands to its right in the distance.

I'm not familiar with it, either-- but I'm guessing that's the one Mary Ellen means.

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That structure in the upper left does appear to be the Administration Buidling. I love the before and after

comparison photographs. It is so interesting to see what remained in the months after demolition began.

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What a great picture....So clear...I noticied what appears to many vehicles on the premises...Was this photo taken before the fair opened ??? Also are there any pictures of the temporary subway station that was biult for the 39-40 Fair......I think the station was near the Amusement sector......Im just always amazed by the wealth of knowledge and resourses this group has at it's disposal........Simply incredible

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If I understand Mary Ellen correctly, I believe she is referring to the building circled in Red in the attachment below:

post-164-125576421157_thumb.jpg

I'm not sure what it is either, but I can tell you that it was still standing in this June 19, 1963 construction photo of Shea Stadium:

post-3769-125578625837_thumb.jpg

The three windowed building that Trey is talking about (circled in Yellow in the first photo) is identified on the 1964-65 Operations Manual Maps as an IRT Substation - and it looks like it's still standing today:

post-3769-125578657098_thumb.jpg

Best Regards,

Kevin

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I don't think that's the same building today. The construction of Shea view shows the building in the foreground with the area where the scoreboard will be on the left and the 7 train tracks not in the picture. The today view shows the building just south of the 7 train tracks and Shea scoreboard on the right. I'm positive that building doesn't exists today.

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Hi Everybody,

the building in the upper left is indeed, as I stated in my earlier post, the Masterpeices of Art. The Administration Building was some bit aways from this and looked nothing like this building - it also had the Bridge of Tomorrow attached to it and that rounded structure with Mithrana on it. It would have been in the lot behind Masterpeices of Art.

MB

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Whoops !! My bad ! I should have looked closer at the comparisons and realized we're talking about 2 separate buildings ! The IRT substation is still there, the other building isn't. Comparison photo overload. :blink:

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And once again, Kevin's eye-in-the sky research delivers the goods. :thumbsup: I hadn't even noticed the red circled building (which is, of course, much closer to Shea) until you blew the image up. But it is pretty cool that the IRT building I was talking about is still there! Do subway buildings count as legacies? :blink:

Or wait... am I confused? :huh:

MB-- are you saying the yellow circled structure is NOT an IRT building-- but the Masterpieces of Art building?

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Hi Trey,

whoah - we are talking 'bout different photographs! :blink: in all my comments I was talking about the photo, post-Fair, that Bill posted from Elpndo - the building with the square courtyard upper left - that is the Masterpeices of Art from '39. Dont know about the building(s) you guys are talking about

Best,

MB

still absorbing thses images....... :wub:

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