Concept Art for the Port Authority Heliport

SOURCE: World's Fair Corporation Artist's Rendering

Artist's Rendering

Concept Art for the Port Authority Cocktail Lounge "Drinks Around the World"

SOURCE: NY World's Fair Progress Report #6 - September 12, 1962

Artist's Rendering of Cocktail Lounge

Port Authority's big hole-in-the-ground will soon give way to their towering 120-foot Heliport.

SOURCE: NY World's Fair Progress Report #6 - September 12, 1962

Excavation for PA Heliport

SOURCE: NY World's Fair Progress Report #7- January 24, 1963


Support Legs Construction


The Port of New York Authority's exhibit building, featuring a 120-foot-high heliport and a 360 degree circular theater, is on schedule. Structural steel will be completed this month. The major remaining contract has been awarded and work has begun. The Authority has contracted for a 360 degree motion picture in the circular theater at the base of the heliport. The dramatic film will portray the magnificence, grandeur and work-a-day importance of the great New Jersey-New York port district. Immediately beneath the heliport level, in the Top of the Fair Restaurant and the Terrace Club, a thousand people can relax and enjoy their lunch or dinner at one of the highest spots on the Fairgrounds. "Drinks Around the World," a cocktail lounge seating 400, will be just below the restaurant level.

The three facilities, which will be operated by the internationally famous Knott Hotels Corporation, will start operations in October of this year, six months before the Fair opens, enabling visitors to see the finishing touches on the Fair. The Fair Corporation will hold official receptions, luncheons and dinners in this unique spot. In addition, many private luncheons and dinners will be scheduled.

The Board of Governors of the Terrace Club has been appointed and is drawing up the operating Rules and By-Laws. Membership invitations will be issued in the next few months to exhibitors and leaders in business and social life throughout the country, with special emphasis on the metropolitan area.

SOURCE: FAIR NEWS, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 19, 1963

 Steelwork Completed
For Fair Heliport

"Topping-out" of steelwork for the Heliport and Port of New York-New Jersey Exhibit Building was marked by traditional flag-raising ceremonies Thursday morning, January 31. Guy F. Tozzoli, director of the Port Authority's World Trade Department, watched with Mr. Moses as the last girder was lifted into place.

The 160- by 210- foot Exhibit Building is under construction on a 1 1/4-acre sight in the center of the Transportation Area on the main axis of the Fairgrounds between the two principal entrances.

Air Gateway to the Fair, the 120-foot high structure will contain the Top of the Fair Restaurant dramatically suspended beneath the helicopter landing surface. The Port Authority's Harbor Exhibit,

featuring a spectacular "wrap-around" motion picture, will be located on the ground floor.

Construction of the Exhibit Building and Heliport was begun in August 1962 and will be completed this year.

The steel is being erected by the American Bridge Division of the United States Steel Corporation.

The final section of steel atop the Port of New York-New Jersey Exhibit Building and Heliport at the New York World's Fair, was lifted into place on January 31. The building will be completed by the end of 1963.

Topping Out Ceremony

SOURCE: NY World's Fair Progress Report #8 - April 22, 1963

Skeletal Steel

The last steel girder for the Port Authority's Exhibit Building at the World's Fair rose into place January 31. At the big 'T' for the ceremony were (from left) Port Authority Chief Engineer John Kyle; Robert Moses, president of the World's Fair Corporation, Guy Tozzoli, director of the Port Authority's World Trade Department; and Perry Whittaker, supervisor on the project for American Bridge.

Moses and PA Officials at Topping Out

MODELS, CONCRETE AND STEEL Among the first buildings to reach completion will probably be the table-shaped heliport ... shown with working model in the foreground. The heliport houses a glass-enclosed restaurant and, tucked between its elevator-filled pillars, a theater showing 360-degree "wrap around" movies.
SOURCE: LIFE - March 8, 1963
Steel Skeleton

THINGS TO COME -- Some of the 200 structures that will grace the Fair are rapidly taking shape. Above, the Ford Motor Company Pavilion, with the Port of New York Authority's exhibit building in the background. The Authority's building will have a heliport on the roof, to encourage traffic by air rather than by road.
SOURCE: NY Times Magazine - April 28, 1963
Aerial of Transportation Area Construction

Artist Lili Rethi's Ink Drawing of the Construction of the Heliport

SOURCE: NY World's Fair Progress Report #9 - September 26, 1963

Lili Rethi's Ink Drawing



Wednesday, 11:30 A.M.
  October 16, 1963 

New York, Oct. 16 - The first of the great New York World's Fair public exhibit structures was opened at 11:30 o'clock this morning, six months before the official opening of the Fair, when a 25-passenger Sikorsky S-61 helicopter landed on the huge roof of the 120-foot-tall Port Authority Heliport and Exhibit Building, the aerial gateway to the Fair. The $2,680,000 steel and concrete building, designed by members of the Port Authority staff, is the first tall structure in the world designed primarily as a heliport.

On the inaugural flight were the Honorable Nelson A. Rockefeller, Governor of the State of New York; the Honorable Richard J. Hughes, Governor of the State of New Jersey; and the Honorable Paul R. Screvane, President of the Council of the City of New York. They were greeted by Port Authority Honorary Chairman Howard S. Cullman and Vice Chairman James C. Kellogg, III; the Honorable Robert Moses, President of the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation; and the Honorable Mario J. Cariello, President of the Borough of Queens.

After their arrival the distinguished guests proceeded to the Top of the Fair restaurant on the floor below the Heliport where dedication ceremonies, at which Mr. Cullman presided, took place in the presence of some 800 guests.

The Port Authority Heliport and the glass-enclosed twin-level, 1,100 seat dining facilities and 400-seat cocktail lounge, with a panoramic view of the World's Fair and the New York City skyline, will be in continuous operation until the Fair closes in October 1965. Four mammoth tapered columns rise from a 28,000-square-foot ground-floor Port of New York exhibit area. Two of the columns contain five high-speed elevators capable of handling 2,500 people an hour.

The Port Authority Exhibit, a full circle motion picture of the dramatic story of the New York-New Jersey Port, will open in April.

The Port Authority Building is distinguished by the "T" (for transportation) which extends the height and width of the enormous structure on each of its four sides. It occupies a 1 1/4-acre site in the center of the Transportation Section, between the two principal entrances on the main axis of the Fair opposite the Unisphere. It can be reached from entrances on 111th Street in Corona, west of the Grand Central Parkway and north of the Long Island Expressway.

The Port Authority Heliport at the Fair

The Heliport atop the Port Authority Building is 150 feet by 200 feet. It will be operated by United Aircraft International Corporation of East Hartford, Connecticut, under a lease with the Port Authority. Beginning next April, sightseeing flights will be conducted with United Aircraft's Sikorsky Division's twin-turbine S-61 helicopters.

New York Airways will provide scheduled helicopter service beginning in November linking the Fair with Manhattan, New York International, LaGuardia and Newark Airports and other points in the Port District.

The Top of the Fair Restaurant

The Top of the Fair restaurant, capable of serving 30,000 people a day, overlooks the sweeping panorama of the World's Fair and the New York City skyline. The upper level, just below the Heliport, contains the 1,100-seat dining area.


SOURCE: The Port of New York Authority Press Release


On the floor below is the oval "Drinks Around the World" 400-seat cocktail lounge. There will be two dance floors, one covering 1,800 square feet, as large as the dance floor in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria. Parking space for 500 cars is provided.

The restaurant has been leased by the Port Authority to Top of the Fair, Inc., and will be operated by the Knott Hotels Corporation, one of the nation's oldest and largest hotel chains. An international cuisine, among the best to be found anywhere in the world, will be offered. Until the Fair opens and during its winter recess, the restaurant will be open to the public from 11:30 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. on weekdays and Sundays, and from 11:30 A.M. to 2:00 A.M. on Fridays and Saturdays. It also will be available for banquets and other social functions. During the Fair it will operate from 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 A.M. daily.

The interiors and furnishings for Top of the Fair were designed by Chandler Cudlipp Associates. The decorative themes of the restaurant and cocktail lounge, in soft shades of blue and gold, reflect space and the sea.

Kitchen and pantry equipment are contained in the center of the building on the cocktail lounge level. The kitchen was planned and installed by Straus-Duparquet of New York City, under the supervision of Maurice Lafiteau. Food storage areas and the wine cellar are located in the basement of the building which will house the Top of the Fair business offices and an employees' cafeteria.

The Port Authority Exhibit

The Port Authority Exhibit, to open in April, will be located in a 28,000-square-foot area on the ground floor of the building. A cylindrical theater 60 feet in diameter will feature a spectacular "wrap-around" 360-degree motion picture telling the dramatic story of the New York-New Jersey Port and its fourteen million people.

The 13-minute film will be projected on a screen, 13 1/2 feet high and 195 feet in circumference, by ten projectors located in a pod hung from the ceiling. The audience of up to 400 will stand in the center so that they may "travel" with the story as it moves on the surrounding screen.

Scenes for the movie have been photographed in the past month with ten synchronized movie cameras mounted in a ring, lenses upward, and shooting through mirrors.

Music for the thrilling picture will be composed by Aaron Copland, and the script by the noted poet Marianne Moore.

The film is being produced by Fred Niles Communications Center, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois. Special projection equipment was developed by the Ralke Company, Inc. of Los Angeles, California.

- - - - -

Construction of the building was begun July 30, 1962. The foundations were installed by M. Parisi & Son, Inc. of Maspeth, Long Island; the steel was furnished and erected by United States Steel Corporation, American Bridge Division, of Pittsburgh; the superstructure was built by W. J. Barney Corporation , of New York City.


The nearly completed Heliport stands ready to welcome its first visitors.

SOURCE: The Port of New York Authority Publicity Photo

Nearly Completed Heliport


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