The Way We Once Traveled: Helicopter Transfers to the 1964 World's Fair
We'll fully admit that we save our ticket stubs even sometimes our bag tags. Of course travelers of decades ago were no different; in fact, they were worse. Sometimes we dig up vintage gems that deserve to be shared. All week, we'll look at a few lost pieces of ephemera that continue to inspire.
The 1960s were a great time to hop a helicopter ride in New York. These were the days when buying a First Class ticket on Pan Am or TWA meant the inclusion of a chopper transfer to the airport, and helicopters weren't yet clogging the skyways above the rivers, causing the accidents and concerns that exist today. In 1964 specifically, families keen on spending a day at the 1964-1965 World's Fair could take a scenic ride on New York Airways' helicopters from Manhattan out to the fair at Corona Park in Queens.
Landing was the fun part, actually; the choppers set down atop the first completed structure for the fair, the Port Authority Exhibit Building, which counted the helipad, a restaurant ("Top of the Fair"), cocktail bar and 360-film feature theater as attractions. Coincidentally, the 360-degree film shown was also shot by helicopter, as the cameras dangled and captured the beauty and geography of the New York region.
Transportation was a huge focus of the fair, seeing as how the theme was global interdependence and "Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe." While the majority of the Fair buildings are long gone, it's well known that Corona Park is a heaven for photographers who enjoy shooting abandoned, rusting structures.
Believe it or not, the Port Authority building still stands, though a significant walk from the Unisphere. Today it serves as a private events space and no helicopters have landed on its roof in decades. We wonder how much 1960s design is still preserved inside those oddly shaped walls...
The postcard back info:
The Port of New York Authority Heliport and Exhibit Building
The top of this building, 120 feet from the ground, is a landing deck for helicopters linking the fair to Manhattan and New York's three major airports. Immediately below the landing deck are a restaurant and a cocktail lounge.