I certainly do but I soon found that the Fair was literally, out of this world.
When you're a kid and you find that you're interested in science, the world becomes a lot more fascinating. But when you're a kid and you hear that they're opening up the World's Fair in New York City, suddenly, you can't stop running around in circles and screaming for joy. At least, that what I found myself doing.
My story begins on a beautiful spring day in 1964.
Let's first take a ride on the subway. Remember this tune?
Now let's take a walk.
I was with my wonderful mother and father and my knuckle-head older brother. Actually, he's a lot of fun, I just like to call him that. We got off the number 7 train in Queens and man, was it crowded. All the people pushing didn't matter though. I'd been looking forward to this trip for the past month and a few people were not going to change my mood. As we found our way through the crowd, there was so much overhanging excitement in the air that I was having a difficult time keeping my eleven year old feet on the ground.
A three minute trip across the boardwalk led us to Gate No. 1. Admission fee was $2.00 for adults (13 and over) and $1.00 for children.
Across the intersection of Gotham Plaza, we then walked on the Avenue of Commerce. This was where I sited the first lander. Others called it the IBM pavilion but no one could tell me that this wasn't some kind of spacecraft.
We then walked up the Avenue of Progress until we came to the
Bell System pavilion.
It was obvious from the huge landing struts and the amount of "visitors" boarding, that the true purpose of this craft had nothing to do with the earth.
When I turned around, there lay the Pool of Industry, also known as the Fountain of Planets. In the distance, I could see strange a spherical object. I would attempt to ascertain it's purpose at a later time.
As we rounded the Promenade of Industry, we then stood in the Court of the Universe, I could see the third craft known as the General Electric pavilion. Was I the only one that could see the truth? These structures had not been built here, they had landed. This obvious fact didn't seem to bother anyone else so I decided to keep it to myself.
Our small group then walked on the Avenue of Asia. This led us pass the Solar Fountain and then the Astral Fountain, which was located in the Court of the Stars. I was hypnotized by the reflective metal as the water danced through it's stars in a weaving motion. As I glanced to my right, I realized that it was not the fountain but the mysterious sphere that was beckoning to me. I was taking a few steps in that direction when I felt my brother grab my collar in order to pull me in the opposite direction. Obviously, the family had other plans.
I could see across the Meadow Lake bridge that there was a transportation platform for some type of train. I soon found that it was called the Monorail. We followed the line and got aboard. The "Hostess" told us that all of the cars were completely automated. As the doors closed and the train pulled out of the station, I anxiously looked to the front and the rear of the vehicle. I suddenly realized what the woman had truly meant. The reason I saw no compartment for a driver was because there was none! The hostess then said that the control booth was in a room back at the main platform but I knew better. There were other worldly forces propelling this train for the eight minute ride. Though the view was nice, I was relieved when we were finally able to disembark.
After surviving the train, we doubled back across the bridge and we strolled down the Harry S. Truman Promenade. To my left was the New York State pavilion which was looking a little too familiar. The towers on this building seemed exactly like those on The Jetson's cartoons on TV. That series was about a future utopia in the year 2062 where flying cars and robots were all commonplace. I gazed up in disbelief at the height of this structure. It seemed impossible that people could be walking around on the top tiers but it was true. Those platforms really looked as if they were going to take flight at any moment.
As I moved on, the huge transparent globe was growing ever larger as we approached. It was called the Unisphere and it sat within the Fountain of the Continents. As I stood at the edge of the circular, man-made pond, I could not help but listen as two gentlemen in black suits and dark glasses spoke.
"This is such a beautiful piece of architecture, Agent K. It will be a shame when it's no longer here."
"Agent J, will you please stop worrying about that ball of steel. What's going to happen here will be for the good of humanity. Not to mention a few other alien life forms."
One of the men suddenly noticed how close I was standing to them.
"Excuse me, Agent K" he said to his friend. "But do you think the kid heard what we were saying?"
"Trust me, Agent J. Sometimes the distance between understanding and believing is a pretty big leap. He'll be okay."
The two men in black walked pass me and smiled. They then headed in the direction of the New York State pavilion. All I could do was shake my head. Apparently the sun had been shining in my eyes and it took a while for them to adjust to the light.
Finally, as my happy little family walked down the Avenue of the United Nations South, I was astonished by the majesty of the General Motors pavilion called Futurama. I'd never seen a structure like this before and for the life of me, I could not understand how the pilot had landed it here. In other words, it had to be a spaceship of some kind. My parents and brother did not hesitate to enter so I guessed that it was safe.
Once inside, we relaxed in our row of moving seats. We were shown what the future would be like from deep beneath the sea, to the construction of the cities of tomorrow and finally, the exploration of the surface of the moon.
It was late and the family had gotten their fill of excitement. I was really sad to leave the fair and looked forward to my next visit. I'd heard that Futurama drew more visitors than any other site at the Fair and I could understand why. Seeing the style and imagination that went into this particular spaceship (I mean building), made me curious as to where the idea for it's design originated.
The World's Fair ended in 1965 but in 1966, there was another ship called Enterprise which was similar to the structure of General Motors Futurama. It's shape was not quite as streamlined but one has to wonder, which came first?
I stand here, looking across the beach which was shaded by the few clouds in the sky. This is the whitest sand that I'd ever seen. In truth, the beaches that I'd been to before now were all kind of a brownish color. Hard to get away from that in New York. I guess this fact made what I was seeing even more surprising. An inner peacefulness was washing over me as I remembered that I was spending this vacation in Trinidad and Tobago. The warmth of the sun mildly bathed my face in a relaxing way and not a burning one which I had expected. Tobago feels like a paradise.
It's hard to tell if the people that are shuffling pass are natives or tourists like myself but it doesn't matter. The few souls scattered around are all displaying the same relaxed demeanor. As I walk through the warm grains towards the anxious waves, I'm happily reminded of my little partner by the tugging on my hand. My two-year old daughter, Danielle, is accompanying me on my journey. I hold Dani's hand a bit more tightly as she tries to quickly run forward in order to reach the watery playground. Dani has always loved the water and she'd play in it all day if she were allowed to. This child truly has no fear of her surroundings and could not imagine that the same might be unkind and caution should be taken. Of course, why should she fear when her mother and father were always taking the extra care to ensure her safety.
Dani shrieked in anticipation as she saw the approaching waves. As the water rose around her legs, I bent down and placed both my hands under her armpits. I proceeded to play the "Lift Dani up to the sky and then gently drop you back into the water" game. She knew that I did this quickly in order to save her from the watery force that would have pushed her away from her not so firm footing in the sand. She half glanced at me and then the wave as it came rolling towards us.
As I picked her up, she giggled loudly as her heels reached the sky. We played this game for a while, then I heard the expected command.
"Daddy, water" she said.
Dani stated this because she wanted to be put down. The water was now past her waist. She knew that I was not letting go of at least one of her hands.
Suddenly, a small wave flipped it's hand up and water was thrown into Dani's face. She did not use her free hand to wipe her eyes but simply shook her head and laughed.
"Lloyd, be careful," a distant voice called out.
From a crumpled towel on the far away beach, my wife Wendy was keeping a watchful eye on the entire proceedings. The protective mother hen sounded concerned but never moved the eyepiece of the bulky camcorder away from her face
I picked Dani up one last time and used her tiny body in order to wave back at Wen. After placing her back in the water, we slowly gripped our toes into the shifting sand and we walked back in the direction of the beach. Dani began to complain but only just a little. She was having too much fun kicking the sand and water in front of her. Wen smiled as we approached, never lowering the camera.
We usually remember the huge, exciting events in our lives but the simple and peaceful ones need to be given a lot more credit.
Spend ten minutes with me as I relax in Tobago.
Click the picture to see the video.
(Yes, she was a little younger back in the day.)
Sharing a special part of yourself can only make others happy.