In honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, NY, the New York State Pavilion got a fresh coat of paint and was being reopened for 3 hours only. I decided to make my artist date a solo trip via bus and to go look at the location.
The World’s Fair site is in the Fresh Meadows Corona Park. The bus ride to get there from my home included taking the N24 to Springfield Boulevard and then transferring to the Q88. I disembarked at the Horace Harding Expressway and 108th Street stop and walked the short distance to the park.
When I arrived around noon, I got at the end of the line:
If you laid down a Z, I was on the line at the top beginning start of the Z. In the distance, you can see what looks like the end. There was a lot more zag to come, but this was all I could see from the end of the line in the parking lot next to 56th Ave.
As I stood in line, I saw Terrace on the Park was overlooking the park. I hadn’t thought about that place since the last time I was there: in 1989 for my senior high school prom. I remember looking out over the park during twilight that evening and seeing the park, but I do not remember seeing the World’s Fair grounds, which I most certainly would have if I looked out. I remember it being a cloudy evening, but you wouldn’t have been able to miss the buildings. In the foreground is a small animal farm at the park with some llamas.
At first, I was all about taking pictures of the line as I progressed. At this point, I think I’m half way through the Z. The line snakes to the right because of a small circle with a fountain in the middle.
On the other side of that picture was more line that was as long as what I had already waited on.
At this point, I am wondering whether I should just get off the line, walk around, get ice cream, and take pictures. I decide to stay in line. Even if it took a couple of hours, I would still get a chance to go inside.
Even after I went the length of that line as I well, it only to got me to a bridge that I still had to cross while waiting in line:
Just on the other side of the bridge was a grove of pink and white blossomed cherry trees under which five sets of bridal parties were getting their wedding pictures taken:
From that same point, I took a picture of the pavilion. I didn’t find out until later that the line went on the opposite side of what I was seeing:
When I finally got to stand in line next to the pavilion, I still couldn’t see the end of the line:
I heard at least one person talk about the history of these towers. At the very top were two observation decks. Just below was an eatery. The lowest tower had an office for Governor Rockefeller:
Although the pavilion and towers were rusting and in obvious decay, they still take impressive photos:
At the end of the line, two men in hardhats were talking to people in the groups they came in.
“How many?” asked one of the men.
“One”, I said.
He pulled a ticket off a roll and handed it to me. “Hold onto this number. When your number is called, go to the entrance and get your hat.”
I stared open mouthed at the ticket I held in my hand.
“And how long do you think that will be?” I asked, too shocked to get angry with him.
“About two hours,” he said.
I walked away in shock. I had waited in line two hours only to be told that I had to wait for my number to be called.
I waited in line for two hours only to get this lousy souvenir:
I had not had lunch yet and still had a number of things to do that day. I abandoned any further plans. Ice cream cones had been calling me from ice cream trucks.
On my way to the ice cream truck, I saw this amazing view:
On the plus side, I made both bus connections within a minute or two of getting to the bus stops. I busted through some old fears about traveling around Queens by myself. I saw the 1964 World’s Fair remaining structures up close. All in all, I had a great artist date for week 8.