The banners this week have been grabs from movies of the 1964 World's Fair. Of the big four - 1893, 1933, 1939, 1962 and 1964, it's my fourth favorite - but that doesn't mean much. They're all fascinating.

The building above is the US Pavilion,  arote example of government architecture of the time. It had color, which was usually sacrificed for plain stark modern expanses. Gone now, replaced by a sports stadium. Most of the buildings are gone, save the Unisphere and the NY State Pavilion. But the sidewalks, the layout of the fairgrounds - they're still there. If you're the least bit interested in the subject, you know that. And you know that the streets and pathways are the same, more or less, as the 1939 Fair.

It's hard not to think of it all as the graveyard of the future.

The 33 Fair felt like sci-fi. By '39 the designs had been toned down a bit, the clean lines perfected, the occasional Mayan influence shaved away. I wonder if it felt more possible, as if '33 had been a first draft, and '39 the final proposal. War canceled that vision. By '46 the '39 designs looked like a childhood dream.

But '64? Many of the design ideas would be echoed around the country in subsequent years, just like the ideas of 1893. It seems as if the worst ideas were picked up - the unimaginative massing and spindly stuff you could call rococo modernism, the Brutalist massing. I'd still saw off an arm to travel back and see it all as it was.

We have the documentaries and ephemera and pins and tickets and all that, but they don't tell you much beyond the official line. For another perspective, we present the following.

The New Yorker sent someone to cover the exhibits at the World’s Fair, and the items appeared in the “Around Town” feature. They betray a certain personality, and you wonder who wrote them. Some dashing, sophisticated urbanite in a sharp suit, eyebrow cocked in amusement as he judged the plebeian throngs and issued his Wilde-like ripostes?

Or some poorly-dressed schlump with thick smeared glasses who only expressed his disdain in writing, and was known for getting quietly, bitterly drunk at social occasions?

Didn't like the Robot, I guess. It was quite the technological experience, but I guess that loud singing put him in a peevish mood.

Sigh, religion:

Well, they’re allowed to think that. Would you prefer the greatest sin to be something more technical and particular? Or does he agree, and is quietly proselytizing?

The person in charge of the paintings had no communication with the person who designed the room:

"It costs twenty-five cents to get in to pay a dollar." Nice line, but you got a lot for your money.

I wonder if this is his way of saying the dull low-brow people of New York aren’t interested in other cuisines, or that word got out about the actual food:

No, I don’t think he enjoyed the Fair.

Standing in line for two hours, even in a nice building, is not fun.

The Poopies of Paris and other less enlightening attractions:

A lesson in editorializing without actually saying anything at all:

It’s a comment on the banality of it all, and American culture in particular. With a tiny bit of admiration for the noisy, crass, and cheerfully idiotic quality of it all.

Then there’s this:

He liked “It’s a Small World After All.” Now I don’t know what to think.



The Brass Rail sounds intriguing. Do we have a picture? We do. They were bizarre. They were space flowers.

The name was an old New York eatery; they'd been at the 39 Fair as well. Doesn't go well with the new design, though.



Finally, this suddenly rhapsodic endorsement:

It still exists, but not in multimedia form.

If you're new to the subject and interested in seeing more, I have a site about it. There are of course much bigger and better ones.


Now, this year's Above-the Fold Kul-chah Feature, or ATFKF.

Landschap met een vrouw die de as van Phocion verzamelt, Etienne Baudet, after Pierre Monier, after Nicolas Poussin, 1684.

I've never seen an artist do a work after someone who was doing it after someone.

"Landscape with a woman collecting the ashes of Phocion," says the title. The foreground ladies.

So it's a copy of this. The explanation is quite good:

It is a picture about exile. Phocion, an Athenian general, was falsely condemned and executed, and his unburied corpse banished, and taken to the outskirts of Megara where it was burnt. At the very front his faithful widow gathers up his ashes. Her servant keeps look out. And the outcasts are placed directly below the mighty nucleus of temple-rock-cloud. But nothing in the scene indicates that the civilisation from which they're excluded is itself evil, corrupt or doomed, that they're well out of it. No, their exile from the good life is sheer tragedy. The majestic symphony of the city continues undiminished.


The idealized life, with ancient forms and a fun game of Shoot Your Friends in the Chest with Arrows:

The text at the bottom refers to "Serenissimo Principi Lud Borbonio." Is this is his palace? Doubt it. He was . . .

Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine (31 March 1670 – 14 May 1736) was an illegitimate son of Louis XIV and his official mistressMadame de Montespan. The king's favourite son, he was the founder of the semi-royal House of Bourbon-Maine named after his title and his surname.








Almost 12,000 souls. Its Wikipedia entry suggests it was not home to a substantial number of famous people:

While radio DJ Alan Freed was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, he grew up in Salem. While working at a radio station in Cleveland, he coined the phrase "Rock & Roll.

So . . . yay Salem!

Okay, let's take a stroll.

Oh no

It’s like something made with extruded pieces from a Play-Doh Fun Factory. Love the period stones, though.

Believe it or not, it’s a landmark. A place with a storied past as a motel, if memory serves; I think we'll meet it this year in the Motel Americana section.


Da da da dum (snap snap)

Da da da dum (snap snap)

Da da da dum Da da da dum

Da da da dum (snap snap)

It must have been a welcome sight once, but it’s passed into Addams Family territory. Regrettable bottom floor modernization. Can we see that sign?


There’s a great sadness in long-broken neon signs.

As time goes on:


More evidence that the latter 20th century did not know a Got-damned thing about rehabbing street level facades:

Rather hard for the son to quit the business.

If he stayed on and took over after his father died, that name block would make his son a bit nervous. Do I hafta?

One Buckaroo’d Awning to rule them all:



You don’t know if he was trying to be a good neighbor or capitalize on the Masonic building’s rep:

Whenever they do this, it looks like the company actually died.



Not a lot going on in this part of town now, but once upon a time:

That's a lot of Motie work.

Once it was but two windows.


Can I jush lean up against you bud I’m pretty hammered right now





I'll have to stop back in a few years and see what's up.

A fine old bank with the original clock, I think. Couldn’t be anything but a bank.



Whoa! A little piece of Deco Miami in Ohio, albeit more sedate, because, well, Ohio.


It was originally the Farmer’s National Bank.

Really says "Farmer," doesn't it.


Bank of Lincoln? Lincoln Bank? Rare mid block bank, if that’s the case.

A not-entirely-successful design that seems a bit unsettling. Maybe it’s the top.

“Yes, dear, I promised I would.”

She was the wife of the owner, Mr. Zadok Street the Second. Really.

Good Golly Miss Molly


It's like it was designed by early AI with insufficient resources upon which to draw.



That'll do. Now head on down the road for more of the 2022 Motel additions. See you tomorrow to wrap it all up.




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