An attraction often overlooked in retrospectives of the 1964-1965
New York World's Fair -- one seen and remembered by millions
of fairgoers -- was the magical fairyland of color and light
that the fair became after the sun had set.
Imagine 10,000 tons of water shooting as high as 150 feet
into the air in ever-shifting patterns while colored lights cast
brilliant effects on the water jets. Overhead, fireworks explode
in the sky while a 60-piece orchestra plays symphony music by
the great masters through speakers hidden in the street lights.
There has not been a water and light show since that matches
the nightly spectacle of the show at the Fountains of the Planets
in the Pool of Industry.
Now, imagine the sight the fairgoers saw as they turned from
the fountain to exit the fairgrounds. To the left were the swirling
multi-colored lights atop General Electric's elegantly domed pavilion.
Slightly ahead and to the left, ever-changing pastel colors glowed
from the reflective aluminum panels covering the Electric Utilities's
Tower of Light, where a beam of light with an intensity of 105
million 100-watt bulbs shot skyward from the center of the pavilion.
Straight ahead, ground-based lighting units shown up into the
trees lining the fair's Main Mall, producing highlights and shadows
in the foliage. The white-light sprays of the Fountains of the
Fair splashed inward into the east and west pools while the silhouette
of the Rocket Thrower could be seen against the brilliantly lit
Unisphere at the end of the mall. To the right, DuPont's multicolored
chemical atoms encircled its red-and-white pavilion. Farther
to the right were the illuminated spires of the Mormon pavilion
with its golden statue of the angel Moroni trumpeting from the
From the decorative street lights to the illuminated flying
flags, to the spectacular lighting effects of the Unisphere,
lighting and special effects were an important part of the fair.
Millions of dollars were spent by the fair and its exhibitors
to make the time after dark a memorable experience for the fairgoer.
Images of Modern America:
The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair page