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'N.Y.C. Transit Authority At The Fair'

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Pictured below is fleet # 2090 - a 1962 General Motors Coach Model TDH 5301, and one of 174 delivered to the Queens Division of the New York City Transit Authority between June and August of that year.

While these buses were not specifically ordered for World's Fair connecting operations, I suspect that the number purchased was increased in anticipation of special routing.

Notice that in the destination sign, which reads 'World's Fair', the 'O' of World's takes the form of a map of the Western Hemisphere.

Pictured is a typical group of families ready for their sojourn to the Fair grounds.

Photo courtesy of N.Y. Transit archives.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY (a/k/a TDH 5303)

WORLDSFAIRNYCNEWLOOK.jpg

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Pictured is a typical group of families ready for their sojourn to the Fair grounds.

All the ladies are wearing identical uniforms.

Rather than "moms", maybe they were Bus Company representatives who rode around neighborhoods handing out promotional information on 'special routes' for the upcoming World's Fair?

Also, the kids don't look ready to go, with their tricycles and kiddy car fire truck (I've seen kid vehicles like that inside the fairgrounds except the strollers rented by Hertz).

The way they are dressed, I'll bet this was in March or early April.

It looks like the ladies have "goody bags" they're giving to the kids.

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Randy,

I'm afraid you're nitpicking!

The photo is obviously promotional, and the 'extras' incidental.

The focus of the study is on the bus itself and what part it played in World's Fair transit.

For all I know, the principals were related to the driver!

But, thanks for your input.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY (a/k/a TDH 5303)

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Okay, I guess I'm as much a human interest person as a technical / bus person- but I DO find things like buses interesting too.

Do you think that destination sign was a "rollover kind", where World's Fair / globe was just one of many destinations that the driver could flip over?

I don't know much about how these things worked- were they on a "roll" kind of like a player piano?

I wonder if the TA supplied such rolls with the World's Fair / globe destination to all of their buses, so that ANY of them could be used on a special Fair run if needed, or only to the new Fishbowl buses, if they wanted to showcase only their "newest equipment" on the Fair runs?

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Randy,

Back in the early sixties all destination signs both front and side were known as 'curtains' and were scrolled by hand.

Electronic message signs were still a way off (more like the early to mid eighties during the run of 'RTS' designed buses).

It is certainly possible that the MTA changed all their scrolls before the fare but unlikely because of the costs involved.

What is usually done in transit when a bus doesn't have the designated route on its signage is the use of a printed or hand written placard in the lower part of the windshieds.

I think you are also correct in saying that the MTA would have used only their newest equipment (in this case, the 'Fishbowls') to showcase for the Fair.

BTW; the first mechanical/electronic signs (a step in the direction of all electronic) may well have worked similarly to a player piano although I am unfamiliar with the equipment.

Thanks for sharing.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY (a/k/a TDH 5303)

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Randy,

I realized that I may have left you in the lurch on the 'mechanical/electronic' signs that I mentioned above.

The mechanical/electronic system was a 'hybrid' or combination comprised of mostly mechanical components with what appeared to be digital letters.

These signs were dull (almost illegible in certain light conditions) and could not blink or 'trail' across the board such as stock quote belts do.

I would have to imagine that driver had the capability to change the sign by means of a control panel.

Of course, today's signs, which use bright LED technology, are pure digital and can be programmed in thousands of ways.

I believe this evolution began with later model Fishbowls.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY

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I remember in the 70's seeing signs in airports- especially in Europe, that used a sort of rolodex technology, but they were definitely hooked up to some kind of computer.

Each character had it's own "rolodex" of all the characters and numbers, and all of them would spin around at very high speeds, stopping at the right combination of characters to create a word or words.

This is how airlines showed that Flight 1793 was arriving at Gate 32 and was "on time", before digital displays took over.

Seems like I do vaguely remember some buses having those same high-speed flip characters.

Some inexpensive digital alarm clocks that you put on your nightstand, used the same system.

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Randy,

I remember well what you're talking about - and I remember how they used to spin to programmed stops.

I have an antique clock radio at my bedside that uses the 'Rolodex' principle but, of course, much slower.

Unfortunately, those systems would have been far too sophisticated and expensive to install on buses.

Also, road vibration might have played havoc what with the fact that the cards were held in place and released only by the very tip of an arm.

Interesting though!

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY

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I remember in the 70's in the front of the bus there was a handle that turned and the driver would life a flap to see the sign that was displayed (backwards it was on a roll of plastic) and keep turning the handle till the proper sign came into view.

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Randy,

On the GM 'Old Looks' (pre Fishbowls) that I drove seasonally at Green Line during my college years (example below), we had two front signs each of which had a disc shaped dial like knob (about two and a half inches in diameter) with a protruding handle for changing destinations.

We were able to watch the scrolling progress through a slot behind each sign, but after a while you almost knew instinctively how far to turn but, of course, still needed the slots for alignment.

Our side signs, just behind the front door in the first transom or standee window, were entirely visible from the inside and so limber that they did not require the extra fingure turners as did the front.

Because Green Line had so many routes and sub routes on some lines, the curtains were very long with 'Special', 'Garage', 'School', 'Charter' and 'No Passengers' all the way at the end - and it was a job getting to them at least on the front ones.

How well I remember all that!

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY

Photo courtesy Green Line archive.

GREEN335.jpg

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Randy,

Just picked up some further information on front destination scrolls on both the 'New Look' GM's and Flxibles of the middle seventies;

The 'curtains' were made of Mylar film and were wound on reels that were rotated electrically.

There's something I didn't know!

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY

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Pictured below is fleet # 2090 - a 1962 General Motors Coach Model TDH 5301, and one of 174 delivered to the Queens Division of the New York City Transit Authority between June and August of that year.

While these buses were not specifically ordered for World's Fair connecting operations, I suspect that the number purchased was increased in anticipation of special routing.

Notice that in the destination sign, which reads 'World's Fair', the 'O' of World's takes the form of a map of the Western Hemisphere.

Pictured is a typical group of families ready for their sojourn to the Fair grounds.

Photo courtesy of N.Y. Transit archives.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY (a/k/a TDH 5303)

WORLDSFAIRNYCNEWLOOK.jpg

Incredible! I was sipping Diet Rite as I came across this post!

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