A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 01, 2004
Trylon and Perisphere (1939); Unisphere (1964)
The Trylon and Perisphere were built for the 1939-40 World's Fair. The Unisphere (still standing in Queens) was built for the 1964-65 World's Fair.

It's not enough for New York City that the thematic sculptural buildings be built. They must have unique names as well.

16 March 1937, New York Times, pg. 25:

A simple white sphere 200 feet high, apparently floating on a cluster of fountains beside a towering 700-foot triangular obelisk, will be the architectural wonder of the New York World's Fair of 1939, according to an announcement yesterday by Grover Whalen, president of the Fair Corporation. (...)

The fair technicians were obliged to coin new words to describe the structures. For the obelisk they brought forth the word "trylon," composed of "tri," for its three sides, and "pylon," for its position as gateway to the Theme Center. For the Theme Center they developed "perisphere." (...)

"Entering the great perisphere," he (Whalen-ed.) said, "the visitor will be impressed first by the size, grandeur and color effects. He will gaze out to distant horizons, up at the changing patterns of the dome and down at the lights and colors of a vast panorama.

"From the moving platform the spectator will look down on cities and towns and factories, on farms and fields and pastures. He will see ships and trains and trucks bringing raw materials into the cities and carrying bacl manufactured products to the country and to other lands.

To a musical accompaniment a voice will explain the significance of all this movement. It will point to the great economic revolution of the past 150 years, showing how in Washington's time every man almost was a self-sustaining independent unit, whereas today even the poorest farmer is absolutely dependent on other people in other places and other lands for his existence.

THe point will be made, however, that despite this interdependence of modern man, he is not less but more free than were his ancestors because the ordinary physical problems of living have been simplified through cooperation. The conclusion will be that political and economic peace can only come to mankind as it recognizes this great, this revolutionary, change in the pattern of life, this absolute dependence of all groups and classes, trades and countries in modern society on each other.

Mr. Whalen said that preliminary foundation work for the Perisphere and Trylon was expected to begin in May.

15 February 1961, New York Times, pg. 37:
A 120-Foot Steel "Unisphere"
Will Be Symbol of the '64 Fair

A globe 120 feet in diameter will be the symbol of the New York World's Fair of 1964-65.

The fair corporation has named the object the Unisphere, apparently meaning one sphere. The symbol of the 1848-49 World's Fair here was an elongated pyramid joined to a huge ball - the Trylon and Perisphere.

Robert Moses, president of the 1964 World's Fair Corporation, said yesterday, "Frankly, I never understood the Trylon and Perisphere."

Mr. Moses, unveiling a drawing of the Unisphere yesterday, said it "illustrates, symbolizes and embodies man's achievements on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe."

"It emphasizes the necessity of achieving peace through mutual understanding of all peoples," he said.

The stainless steel frames that form the cage of the sphere will represent lines of latitude and longitude. The continents and largest islands will be raised in steel mesh. National and state capitals will blink in colored lights.

The orbits of three artificial satellites will be represented by wires, along each of which a light, representing the satellite, will circle the earth. (...)

The fair corporation has offered to give the Unisphere to the city after the fair as a permanent embellishment in Flushing Meadow Park.
Posted by Barry Popik
Buildings/Housing/Parks • Sunday, August 01, 2004 • Permalink

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