Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some Weird Pictures From Flushing Meadows Park

Today I got a weird bug to go take pictures of Harry Houdini's gravesite. He's buried about six miles from where we live in a cemetery on Cypress Hills Street. We found the cemetery on Mapquest, grabbed the camera, and drove across Queens only to find that the entire cemetery was closed for Passover. Doh! After that we decided to go get some Chinese food for lunch and while I knew I could go back to the cemetery in a day or two and explore (it looked sooo cool and sooo creepy and old and weird from the side of the road!) I was kinda bummed because I really just wanted an excuse to play with my camera.

On the way home, Alison pointed out Flushing Meadows Park and we decided, hey, we're here, why not. I'd read about the park in a book, about how the Worlds Fair was held there in 1964 and how some of the materials that were built for the fair were still there so these seemed like something neat (and free!) to check out and kill some time with. After dealing with some stupid parking problems (there were two Red Bull cars blocking the entrance to the parking lot for some reason) we got out of the car and wandered towards the 'Unisphere' which was built as a symbol of peace by the United States Steel Corporation. It's made entirely of stainless steel and according to the information posted in front of it, it stands 140 feet high, 120 feet across, and weighs 700,000 pounds.
It's pretty impressive and if you stand undernearth it and look up, it can be a little dizzying....

Nearby the 'Unisphere' is the 'New York State Pavilion.' This strange building once housed exhibits but now stands more or less vacant. It's fenced off, you can't get inside as it's probably dangerous, but you can walk around it. From one gate you can see a map of New York State. This was supposedly built by Texaco and I couldn't get up high enough to poke my camera in to take a picture.
Here's what you see as you approach it....

...and once you get there, what you see looking up. Notice all the empty sockets that look to have once held hundreds, if not thousands, of light bulbs.

Laying dormant, rust and time have eaten away at things. Most of the doors, which are bolted or locked shut (we tried them) are rusted pretty badly and would be easy to get past with a little work.... but that's illegal, so we decided against that.

The entire structure is covered in weeds and vines and ivy. It crawls all up the towers and around the walls.

You can see where the city has put some prevenative measures into place to keep people from hopping the wall and getting inside. Barbed wire is visible along the pipes that jut out. Had this not been there, it'd have been fairly simple to climb in.

The whole structure is circular and very odd. It's all made entirely of concerete and steel and with all the rust and weather stains on it, it has a creepy post-apocalyptic look to it. You have to wonder why the city has just left it there unmaintained.

Elevators that I can only assume took mid-sixties fair-goers up to an observation deck of some sort are still there. When the win hits the cables, which are all in place if very rusty, they make an eerie high pitched 'ping' sound. The glass is all broken and the doors look like they're going to fall off.When you come around the other side and back towards the 'Unisphere' and the Queens Museum of Art which stands beside it, you can look back and get a neat view of the structure through the trees. A month from now it'll be completely hidden behind the leaves from this angle.

The Queens Museum of Art is a strange building too. It's got the active art museum inside but it also houses a skating rink that is still used. Despite the fact that it is still very much in use, it too is worn down and strange looking.

Even the sign for the skating rink is strange. It was probably cute when it was painted decades ago, but now it seems sort of sad, covered in rust and dirt.

Interestingly enough, here's what the pavilion and the 'Unisphere' looked like back when they were new and technologically relevent...


The Hamzinger said...

Good timing - there's a big ol' National Geographic article on the fair out just now, too!

Mike said...

I remember driving by that park on numerous occasions, I just never knew what it was called. I think part of Men In Black was filmed there. If I remember right, the texaco towers were hiding spots for spaceships. Nice pics!

ianjane said...

Thanks! And yeah, part of Men In Black was defnitely filmed there.