Better Living Center
This pavilion, third largest at the Fair, is a giant showplace for the products, services and ideas that enrich America's standard of living. Some 250 exhibitors carry out the theme with displays that fall into six major categories: food, fashion, home, leisure, health and security. There are food exhibits, up-to-date fashion shows, concerts, and a model railroad layout called the largest in the world. A play school - the Children's World - offers a two-hour creative instruction course for small children. Visitors may ascend to the roof on glass-enclosed escalators and then descend through the exhibits via ramps. Or they may ride to the roof aboard elevators enclosed in a glass tower, which offers a spectacular view of the Fair.
The Better Living Center was one of the major disappointments at the Fair. Despite its large size, there was very little inside to attract or interest visitors, as the majority of the exhibits were static displays that would have been better suited for a trade show. The red banners seen in this picture were added to draw attention to what was an otherwise forgettable structure. (CD #7 Set 36 #5)
Food Floor. Among the displays, Elsie the Cow stars every 15 minutes in a fanciful animation, and a history of chocolate is shown.
Elsie had been one of the stars of the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair, so it was only fitting that she returned for the new Fair as well. (CD #33 Set 169 #20).
Many of the exhibits in this area had been planned for the ill-fated "World of Food" pavilion which was not finished in time for the start of the Fair and was demolished.
Palace of Fashion. In a setting inspired by an earlier world's fair, London's Crystal Palace of 1851, five fashion shows are held every day, and the latest in clothes, accessories and cosmetics are on view.
This display from the American Thread Co. gives an indication of the wonders that awaited within the Better Living Center. (CD #7 Set 36 #6)
Model Railroad. The rolling stock includes 400 locomotives and 600 cars. Paris, Vienna and other cities around the world are along the right-of-way, as well as representations of Mars and a City of the Future. There is a 30-minute commentary.
The model railroad display was a big hit for anyone who had set up their own train set down in the basement. The highly detailed model was one of the largest displays of its kind at the time. (CD #TBD Set 562 #1)
Restaurants. The rooftop Cafe' International and Penthouse Restaurant serve meals prepared by chefs from many lands. There is another restaurant on the ground floor.
While the exhibits inside the Better Living Center failed to excite most visitors, the building did offer a nice spot to view the Fair while you dined. Some of the best views of the Pool of Industry and surrounding pavilions were taken from this vantage point. (CD #TBD Set 272 #20)
Dream House. A full-sized, seven-room house features modern furnishings and design ideas. There are also some predictions about the future of the kitchen.
While most of the displays were decidedly dull, this one was memorable. The water faucet, seemingly suspended in mid-air, had a steady stream of water pouring out of it. (CD #16 Set 81 #1)
Want more information on the Better Living Center?
2-13-63 - Groundbreaking booklet
3-4-64 - There'll Be Lots of Fun at World's Fair Children's Center, Too
World's Greatest Spectrackular News
5-5-64 - World's Fair Corporation memo about problems at the Better Living Center
5-6-64 - Follow-up memo on problems at the Better Living Center
5-26-64 - Follow-up memo on problems at the Better Living Center
10-9-64 - Canada Dry complaint about problems at the Better Living Center
National Association for the Blind advertisement