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The Lost History of the New York Crystal Palace


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#1 1853crystalpalace

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 04:32 PM

Hello everybody. My name is Ed Witkowski. I been wanting to join the World's Fair Commmunity for quite some time. I chose to sign up during "The Lost Weekend" So glad I am finally on. Been collecting for 45 years (all World's Fairs), but my favorite is the 1853 NY Crystal Palace. I think I am the only one in the world. Just wrote a book "The Lost History of the New York Crystal Palace - America's First World's Fair" the first book ever written on the subject. Anyway it will be interesting to see if anyone is interested in this poor forgotten fair.
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#2 SonnyTFox

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:32 PM

Welcome to PTU Ed.If I`m not mistaken doesn`t Disneyworld have a small version of the Crystal palace near the entrance on Main St?

#3 expoboy

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:34 PM

Welcome Ed. You're right; not much is known about New York's first world's fair. I have often visited Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan, site of the exhibition, and since it's renovation several years ago, it is a wonderful urban space. A few years back they staged musical numbers from current Broadway plays (with big-name stars) on Tuesdays at lunchtime and on Monday evenings screened classic motion pictures on a huge screen with a state-of-the-art Sony projection system. I wonder if they still offer this free entertainment?

#4 Elizabeth Klug

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 06:13 PM

I wonder if they still offer this free entertainment?

Yes they do still have movies under the stars. As a matter of fact, I believe there was one tonight!

#5 1853crystalpalace

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:42 AM

Welcome to PTU Ed.If I`m not mistaken doesn`t Disneyworld have a small version of the Crystal palace near the entrance on Main St?


Not aware of the Disneyworld crystal palace. Is it the same shape of the NY palace (Greek cross with center dome) or another shape. They kept the same shape of the NY palace at the 39 fair in a small version would like to knowif that is the case at Disneyworld. Thanks

#6 1853crystalpalace

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:53 AM

Welcome Ed. You're right; not much is known about New York's first world's fair. I have often visited Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan, site of the exhibition, and since it's renovation several years ago, it is a wonderful urban space. A few years back they staged musical numbers from current Broadway plays (with big-name stars) on Tuesdays at lunchtime and on Monday evenings screened classic motion pictures on a huge screen with a state-of-the-art Sony projection system. I wonder if they still offer this free entertainment?



Bryant Park has a long history of offering afternoon and evening entertainment to the public. Poetry readings, Jazz, fashion shows etc. They have a great ice skating rink in the winter. I included a chronology of Bryant Park in my book. If you are ever at Bryant Park envision that almost the entire area was the size of the CVrystal Palace. A massive building for its time

#7 George J Fogel

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:09 PM

Here's a view of Disney's Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.Attached File  CRYSPL_1_9981.jpg   193.88KB   120 downloads

#8 SonnyTFox

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:23 PM

[quote name='George J Fogel' date='08 July 2009 - 12:09 AM' timestamp='1247008196' post='76420']
Here's a view of Disney's Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.Attached File  CRYSPL_1_9981.jpg   193.88KB   120 downloads
[/Thanks for posting that picture George.It at least shows my memory is still intact.

#9 1853crystalpalace

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for posting the picture of the Disneyworld Crystal Palace. Not too similar to NY but a beautiful building. What is inside?

#10 Bill Cotter

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:39 PM

It's a restaurant, Ed. I can post some pictures of it as well when I get back home from my trip.

#11 Glen Schultzberg

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 10:11 AM

I remember seing the Crystal Palace on the Magic Kingdom map during my one-and-only visit (so far) to Disneyworld. Unfortunately, with so much so see in too little time, I never made it there.

I also remember going to NYC in 1997 or so and attending a movie screening in Bryant Park. It was "Singing in the Rain". And to make it even more special, the movie was introduced by Stanley Donen himself!

#12 1853crystalpalace

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 09:47 AM

I was fortunate to tour the architectural firm of Cook & Fox in NYC. They designed the green friendly Bank of America building across from Bryant park. They told me that their design inspiration came from the NY Crystal Palace and in fact there were several illustrations of the Cryatal Palace on the walls of the firm. It is the second tallest building building in NYC. It is ironic that the NY Crystal Palace as an early example of cast iron architecture coupled with the elevator, first demonstrated by Otis inside the Palace (PT Barnum paid him $100), were the 2 basic items necessary for skyscraper construction.

#13 xl5er

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 11:48 AM

I take it the building on the right is the BOA? This is the first I've heard of it being the 2nd tallest.
Attached File  IMG_2246.jpg   95.59KB   73 downloads

As visual aids for Bryant Park,
Attached File  IMG_2244.jpg   116.61KB   75 downloads

Chocolate and gold American Radiator Bldg, deservedly a crowd pleaser,
Attached File  IMG_2245.jpg   109.29KB   70 downloads

#14 Marc Williams

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 12:06 PM

I take it the building on the right is the BOA? This is the first I've heard of it being the 2nd tallest.


It is if the spire is included but not if you only go by occupied floors.

#15 1853crystalpalace

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:12 PM

Here are some statistics I copied from Wikipedia





Rank Posted ImageName Posted ImageCity Posted ImageHeight
feet / m Posted ImageFloors Posted ImageYear Posted ImageNotes Posted Image1Sears Tower[A]Chicago, IL01.01,451 / 44210819747th-tallest building in the world. Tallest building in the United States.[1][2]2Trump International Hotel and Tower*Chicago, IL04.01,362 / 415962009Under construction- this building is topped out and stands as the 10th-tallest building in the world. Tallest concrete structure in North America [3]

3Empire State Building[A]New York, NY02.0 1,250 / 381102193114th-tallest building in the world. First building in the world to contain over 100 floors.[4][5]4Bank of America TowerNew York, NY03.01,200 / 36654200817th-tallest building in the world, second tallest in New York City.[6][7]




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