Entries in interviews (2)


The fair had the power to change lives

One of the things we want to highlight about the legacy of the fair is the profound impact it had on the lives of people after the fair ended. For some, the fair led to new, lasting friendships. For others, it guided career choices far off in the future. For Thomas Weakley, it led to a life-long interest in travel. 

Weakley worked at the fair, starting in May of 1964. He worked at the Sinclair Dinoland exhibit. By the second season of the fair, his responsibilities included serving as a host/guide for V.I.P. visitors. He had a chance to see parts of the fair not seen in public: the secret lounges at each exhibit, and "backdoor" entrances, allowing V.I.P. guests to skip the lines that were such a big part of the fair.

The thing that stayed with Weakley though, was his exposure to a wide swath of cultures and art from around the world. While he's travelled to 30 countries, Weakley still ranks his experience at the fair, as one of the top five experiences in his life. For a kid from Indiana, the New York World's Fair served as a gateway to lands never imagined.

Here's a clip from our interview with him:


Long before Google, there was the Panorama

This past week, we had a chance to shoot an interview with Tom Finkelpearl, the Executive Director of the Queens Museum of Art. While we talked about how the legacy of the fair has influenced the museum, and the expansion plans for the site (located in the New York City pavilion, originally in the 1939-40 fair), the highlight of visiting the museum for me is always the panorama of New York City. Robert Moses had the panorama built for the 1964-65 World's Fair, not only as a fascinating attraction, but also as a practical planning tool for the city. Finkelpearl told us how to this day, various agencies will stop by and use the huge, detailed panorama to help plan for city expansion/disaster recovery, etc.

Tom Finkelpearl, Exec. Director, Queens Museum of Art

At the fair, you travelled slowly over the panorama, which must have made it nearly impossible to take in all the detail. Today, a walkway starts near the level of the panorama, and goes around the entire perimeter (even over a portion of the panorama) rising to give a bird's eye view. Fortunately, these days you can linger as long as you want, and pick out city landmarks, or maybe even your home if you reside in New York City. Truly one of the lasting legacies of the fair.