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Orange Bird Photo Hunt


« What Remains of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair? | Main | YEAR IN REVIEW– 2012 »

THEN AND NOW: 1964-65 New York World's Fair

A recent visit to New York City inspired a little detour trip to the former grounds of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. Let's look at some of the pavilions Walt Disney helped design and see the exact locations they once stood.

The Unisphere, the fair's central icon. 

General Electric Pavilion, home to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

Pepsi-Cola Pavilion, home to Walt Disney's "it's a small world"

Ford Pavilion, home to the Disney-designed Ford's Magic Skyway

State of Illinois Pavilion, home to Walt Disney's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln 

New York State Pavilion

Main Gate

Overhead View

Where were the Walt Disney attractions located and how did people get to them?

Here we see the fair's location as it sits today with an overlay of the four Disney-designed offerings plus each of the eight entrance gates. Yes, eight gates!

Up next: Photos of World's Fair remains. Not only did Flushing Meadows host a World's Fair in 1964-65 but the location hosted a World's Fair before that in 1939. Which pieces still exist? What did I find on my little adventure? Plus lots of fun-facts. Stay tuned.


Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Epcot World Showcase [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Walt at Disneyland
Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 3]
New Lincoln Animatronic Lookin' Good

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Reader Comments (25)

Wow. Until recently I didn't even know the grounds still existed. Until now I didn't realize so many things (walkways, etc.) remained. Wonderful.

January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFSGLOB

!! This is great !! Honestly, the fair must have taken a week to experience. Much larger than I had imagined.

January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM

What a fantastic post! I love learning about the 1964 World's Fair, and this helped me know where certain places were.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDalton

My favorite juxtaposition is the size of the tree on the edge of the curb in the GE pictures. Great post as always.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

A very nice job indeed of matching the "then" and "now" shots. It's hard to describe the magic of the site to people who were not at the Fair. The whole place was just alive, so vibrant. Happily the Disney shows fared better than the rest of the Fair when the gates closed for good.

As one post mentioned the site is big! It takes quite a bit of time just to walk around it now. With the shows in place and time to wait on lines it literally took days to see it.

It was a magical two years. Thanks for the look back.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill Cotter

Love this post, I lived about 30 minutes from here my whole life and I always wondered what it was like in its prime and what was still the in relation to what existed previously...thanks!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJes

Wow. You guys do a really good job in your before and after series. The angles always match up. I would love to do before and afters like you. What is your secret?

I live about 30 min from here an unfortunately, as much as a Disney fan as I am, have never been. I think I may venture there in the summer when the trees are green and it seems more lively.

Great job!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterME

Just sad. As a big world's fair fan, I understand the temporary nature of festivals, but the structures and vitality of the areas (that are in many cases, now lifeless and abandoned) are hard to let go. At least here, thankfully NY has tried to reinvigorate Flushing Meadows with the sports venues.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt


January 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjr

Even with the pictures, it's hard to get a feel for the massive scale of the Fair unless you visit the park in person. I visited last fall for the World Maker Faire, which had indoor exhibits in the Hall of Science and outdoor demonstrations in a large field nearby. It wasn't until I was walking back to the subway that I realized that the field was just the Ford pavilion. It must have been like half a dozen EPCOT Centers in one place.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDean Finder

Great photos. I'm looking forward to the Museum of the City of New York's exhibit about the American World's Fairs of the 1930s; I'm wondering if they will mention the Nabisco Disney film:

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Wow, thank you so much for this. My childhood was spent in and around the neighborhoods of Flushing, Queens and we spent many days and nights visiting the World's Fair which was just blocks from our apartment on Main St. My friends and I continued to ride our bikes, play ball, launch model rockets, all around the grounds as they changed year after year. Great memories from all the rides, exhibits and technology. Fireworks at night!!

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterQueens Kid

Love this. I love walking around the grounds and trying to imagine everything there. Great work with the now and then photos!

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Wright

Great post! I live in NYC and I drive by the old Fair Grounds all the time. As many times as I've passed it, I've never put two and two together that this is the birthplace of such wonderful attractions and technology, even though I'm well aware of the history of Lincoln, Small World, etc.

The last time I passed the grounds last week, I could just imagine all the excitement and buzz of Mr. Disney's latest, great ideas!

Thanks for posting this!

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

The overhead shot looks like EPCOT.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I went to the 1964 World's Fair frequently by express bus from Brooklyn.
It was wonderful!

April 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

Awesome job ...putting that together
I went there in 64 and it brings back
great memories
remember the huge Goodyear tire?(ferris wheel)
Thank you!
The good old days

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternick & annette

Your page gave me a good idea. I live in Nassau County now though I grew up in Queens not far from the fair. Today I drove in to the Queens Museum to see the exhibit of 1964/1965 World's Fair memorabilia to see what they have and, more importantly, what I might have that the exhibit in the museum doesn't have. It turns out I have a few items in great shape (like new) that are not represented in the museum's exhibit, so I am going to donate them. I got the name of the person to call, her phone number, and I'll call her Monday.

Were I mayor of NYC that park would be restored to some semblance of its former of glory. I'd definitely clean up the Pool of Industry, fix up the railing around it and get the fantastic fireworks displays that once were a center of attraction at the Fair going again.

Anyway, great page for those of us who remember the fair.

March 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

This was so nice to see. I was 14 at the time of the fair in 1964. My friends and I just about lived there. It was a great part of my life it's so nice to go back in time and relive it. Your photos are great too. I lived in Queens until I was 26, then moved to the Navajo Res. for 9 years. Then off to Cortez, Colorado. Looking at all this makes me look back and remember how lucky I have been all my life in so many ways. Thanks for the trip back. Ginny

April 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGinny

Excellent work on the "then & Now" photos. Perfect positions.

I had no idea The Worlds Fair was so big & such a tourist place back in the day.In truth I thought it was simply the globe & the 2 disc. This little bit of knowledge is just because I saw it in the Men in Black film!

February 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWiggysan

I encourage everybody to go for a walk in Corona park and if you have nostalgic feelings about the fair, you´ll love it. I did this seven years ago and it's stayed as an unforgettable evening of my life.

May 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJon (Bilbao)

Love all the pictures and articles, i dance in the Polynesian Pavilion.

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFofo Tuitele

I have a few "Then & Now" of my own>

March 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEdward W. Plain

Can you tell me where can I find the photography '1939 New York World's Fair' (official source).
Thank you!

September 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNatália Bruno

I graduated from high school in May 1964 and our class trip was to the World's Fair. What a magical day it was with so much hope for the future. Thank you for putting together this "Then and Now" series of photos. It just reminds you that the passage of time is unrelenting.

August 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBarry Gozzard

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