Urso Chappell’s ExpoMuseum Blog: September 2008

25 September 2008

Tent of Tomorrow

Whenever I go to New York, I make a pilgrimage to Flushing Meadows, the site of both the 1939-'40 and 1964-'65 New York World's Fair. I try to imagine what it would have been like to have attended those expositions. The New York State Pavilion from the '64-'65 expo, even then, was in sad state of affairs. Earlier this year, they ripped out the exterior elevators to the observation saucers for fear that they would fall off.

As posted in the Queens Chronicle:

In an about-face, the city is now seeking state landmarking for the decaying 44-year-old New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Park.

Although it was the city that abetted the pavilion’s neglect, Parks Department officials now say they are encouraging state landmarking — which would lead to federal status — to secure funding to restore the structure built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

Officials say a National Register of Historic Places listing would make the city eligible for money to shore up and restore the site.

23 September 2008

Expo 2008, Aragon Pavilion

I've posted before about the wonderful Aragon Pavilion at Expo 2008, but this past week, I discovered that the pavilion's movie, Simfonía de Aragón, had posted online.

To put the film in context, it was shown on multiple screens in a huge room that took up an entire level of the pavilion. large glossy black irregular shapes, which served as support for the pavilion divided up the interior space, which was further articulated by little streams bordered by rocks. Visitors explored the space and navigated over the stream using small bridges and discovered a few hidden artifacts in recesses in the columns. In addition to the film that dominated the space, interactive projections also provided diversions on the floor.

Here are three photos of the Aragon Paviion I took while there:




Here is the film in two parts:

20 September 2008

Expo 2008, Closing Day

Sadly, I was not at Expo 2008 for closing day. But, by all reports, it was pretty amazing. Thankfully, we live in the age of YouTube. A kind soul posted the closing ceremonies performance by Philip Glass (incidentally, my favorite composer), who also performed at Seville's Expo '92.

Expo 2008, being a relatively small world's fair, and Zaragoza, being a relatively small city, made for an amazing atmosphere. I can't recall a city being and an expo being so integrated into each other. The Expo seemed to start way outside the gates. The videos from the closing ceremonies show that. The fireworks running up and down the Ebro River connected the Expo site to the historic center of town. Like many visitors to Expo, my hotel was there, so I had the pleasure of walking to and from the world's fair site alongside the river.

Apparently, Expo 2008 had 5.65 million visitors, just shy of their projected 6 million. Interestingly, they overbuilt their parking facilities. They were mostly empty when I visited in June and apparently went mostly unused with 40.1% taking buses to the site and an amazing 18.5% traveling by foot! It's a wonderfully walkable city and I hope to visit someday in the future and see how the expo site is woven into the fabric of the city.

Here's Aragon TV's coverage (in 5 parts), including a great round-up video at the end:

12 September 2008

Edmonton Sun: 2017 World's Fair 'Doable' for Edmonton

In today's Edmonton Sun:

Bringing the world's fair to the Alberta capital in 2017 is "doable," say officials laying the groundwork for Edmonton's bid.


I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I would be very happy to finally see a world's fair in North America again. If 2017 is the year, it will end a 31 year gap in North American world's fairs. The last expo was Expo '86 in Vancouver.

10 September 2008

Expo 2008 Attendance Numbers

I still haven't found a cumulative number for Expo 2008's attendance yet, but the BIE is reporting that the average attendance at Expo 2008 as of 09 September is 57,909. Not surprisingly, yesterday's attendance was higher than that: 89,441.


I say it isn't surprising since we're in the last week. When I went to Expo 2005, I was there the last ten days and I can attest that there's always a huge surge of visitors during the last few days. People have unused tickets and many locals want to see the Expo before it closes. After all, there's no second season.

So, since yesterday was the 88th of the 93 days, we can assume they've had about 5,095,992 visitors (88 x 57,909). If we assume the next five days will also have high attendance (and I think we could argue the last two days, a weekend, will be even higher), that would add at least 447,205 more visitors (5 x 89,441) to make the total 5,543,197.

Before Expo 2008 started, they predicted 6,000,000 visitors. To meet that, they'd need 904,008 visitors in the next five days, an average of 180,801 per day.

04 September 2008

Visiting the Season Pass Podcast

This week I had the great pleasure to visit the folks at the Season Pass Podcast and talk world's fairs. It's now available to listen to at:

We also talked a bit about Atlanta's World of Sid and Marty Krofft amusement park that lasted just one season in 1976.