Almost a Legacy


In order to help decide which structures should be kept in the Park following the conclusion of the Fair, a Committee headed by William F. Shea, Director of the Budget, was appointed by New York Mayor Robert Wagner in February, 1965. Working closely with the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair Corporation, the Committee made its recommendation to the Mayor on July 23, 1965 in a document titled, "Post-Fair Engineering Report ... Flushing Meadows."

In their report, the Greyhound Building was recommended to be spared demolition, subject to a satisfactory arrangement with Greyhound, for eventual use by the City Fire Department. Although the Pavilion was not useful for Park or closely related purposes, it was on the periphery reached independently of the Park interior road and path system and therefore fit the requirements for retention. A similar arrangement held for the Fair's Press Building. It too was on the Park's periphery road system and, although not useful for Park purposes, was slated for retention and use by the City Police Department.

Inherent in the design and construction of the Post-Fair Park is the question of what buildings and structures should be retained for City Park use and related purposes. In this connection the Fair Corporation's planning for the Post-Fair Park has been based on the premise that buildings not useful for Park or closely related purposes do not belong in Flushing Meadow unless they are on the periphery reached independently of the Park interior road and path system.

A further important consideration is that if an exhibitor's building is to be converted for permanent use, funds for the conversion should be provided by the exhibitor, up to the amount he would otherwise be required to spend for demolition, with any additional funds being provided by a source other than the Fair Corporation.

The 1964-1965 Fair produced some exceptionally artistic pavilions and there have been many suggestions that some of them be kept permanently in the Park. However, these pavilions were built under a special Building Code as temporary special purpose structures and in almost all cases, conversion for permanent use would be prohibitively expensive and would serve no useful Park purpose.

Post-Fair Engineering Report ... Flushing Meadow

July 23, 1965

The above aerial photograph, taken in June, 1966, shows the restoration of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park well underway. Most of the Fair's pavilions have been demolished and much of the old Fairgrounds is looking like the Park that it would become. The Greyhound Pavilion has clearly survived demolition, awaiting its new use by the City Fire Department.

Flushing Meadows June 1966

Source: Sunday News, June 26, 1966 Photo: Airview from NEWS plane by George Mattson; Al DeBello, pilot

This aerial photograph, taken after the Park reopened to the public in June, 1967, shows restored Flushing Meadows-Corona Park just before it was turned over to the City Parks Department by the World's Fair Corporation. The Greyhound Pavilion has been demolished and a grassy plot is all that remains.

What happened to the Greyhound Pavilion? Craig Bavaro did some reasearch on this very question and found the answer (along with the answer to "What Ever Happened..." to a number of pavilions as he reported in his essay "An Almost Fond Farewell" featured here at This is the perfect time to repeat Craig's findings:

... according to the Fair records, this building was actually demolished in the early part of 1967 in conjunction with the return of the Park to the City of New York that summer. Curious enough is the fact that the records clearly indicate early on that the Fire Department would take over this building after the Fair. To that end the building was indeed turned over to the Fire Department in late 1965 by Greyhound, and Greyhound paid the City of New York the sum of $37,000 as their portion of the conversion costs from their demolition budget. At some point in 1966 the Fire Department determined that, once again, the cost to upgrade the building to bring it into compliance with New York City building codes was more than it was worth. The records are silent as to why the upgrade costs were not quantified early in the decision process as was so well documented with most other structures considered. Ufortunately they dragged their feet in notifying Fair officials of this fact. And as such, by late 1966, Fair officials became increasing concerned that this matter would not be resolved in time for the Fair Corporation to avail themselves of the demolition contractors already on site doing other work if the pavilion should need to be torn down. To further complicate matters, during the same period, someone in city government floated the idea of using this building for some kind of poverty assistance program. Needless to say Moses was not happy about this for he felt that a city park was no place for such use. Finally, in early 1967, all parties agreed that the building would be demolished and the orders were issued to disconnect the utilities in preparation for the wreckers to move in. It seems that in their rush to complete the work by the re-dedication of the Park, the demolition company retained to do the work caused some serious damage to the underground electrical distribution system, even though Fair officials took great pains to provide them with the necessary blueprints to prevent this. Curiously, the record ends there and it was not possible to tell who ended up paying for the necessary repairs to the underground utilities.

Flushing Meadows June 1967

Source: Photo courtesy Bill Cotter Collection

webmasters note: Ron Dominguez reports: In June 1967 I was very fortunate to go with my dad and brother to the fair grounds for the dedication as a city park. While the event was nice it was still a very painful experience for me since I was a wild World's Fair fanatic. Seeing it all gone made me very sad. As I wandered around the park I happened to spot what was left of the Greyhound pavilion. On the day of the dedication as a park, the wreckage of the pavilion being demolished was STILL on the grounds. Most of the pavilion was still standing and the area had a chain link fence around it. So I know from actually being there that the demolition was late and a good bit of the pavilion was still there that day. Ron Dominguez, via email 2/08/2010.

A Happier Fate...

Glide-a-Rides at Erie County Fairgrounds in 2000 Glide-a-Rides at Erie County Fairgrounds in 2000
Source: Photographs courtesyrMartin Biniasz, © Copyright 2000, All Rights Reserved

... awaited Greyhound's Glide-a-Ride trains following the Fair. Many of them were sold to regional fairs looking for a modern and convenient way to transport their fairgoers around their grounds. For a time, Glide-a-Ride trains were even used at the restored Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to transport visitors around the Park.

The Glide-a-Rides shown above found a home at the Erie County Fairgrounds outside of Buffalo, New York. By August, 2000, these trains were nearing the end of their useful life and the Erie County Fair was looking to find a buyer for their Glide-a-Rides. It is unknown if a buyer was ever found. By now, a full decade later, they too may have passed into New York World's Fair lore.



An Escorter from the Fair serves as a "Pushcart" of a different sort on Atlantic City's famed Boardwalk.

SOURCE: Presented courtesy Bill Cotter collection © 2010 Bill Cotter, All Rights Reserved. See more images from Bill's fabulous collection of World's Fair photographs at his website

Escorter in Atlantic City
webmasters note: Ron Dominguez writes: Somewhere in the very early 1970's or late 60's I saw a picture of the mall in Washington DC. In the photograph I saw in front of one of the Smithsonian Museums one of the glide a ride trains. (It was so distinctive as to not be missed). I "gathered" that the company that did the riding tours of the mall purchased them from Greyhound and were using them in Washington. So I am reasonably certain that this is true. However, due to the many years since, I can't swear 100% that it was true. I remember thinking it was them and being quite certain but over the years, I can't quite prove it now. So I think some of them wound up in Washington DC. Ron Dominguez, via email 2/08/2010.

Webmaster's note... I'd like to take this opportunity to offer a special THANK YOU to Bill Cotter. Bill has always been most gracious in allowing me to use images from his extensive collection of 1964/1965 New York World's Fair photographs to enhance His photos illustrate aspects of the pavilions and exhibits that mere words cannot do justice to. It is one thing to see Greyhound's mock up of an Escorter; it is so much better to actually see it in action at the Fair -- complete with guides and guests. Bill is a consumate collector of the Fair and he has also very generously offered me items from his collection to include on these pages. And he is the author of the Underground Home feature here at Thank you, Bill, for the photos you contributed to this feature and so many others. We all enjoy them!

Bill Young
February, 2010