LUMINAIRES

A place as special as a world's fair needs something more than ordinary streetlights. The 1964-65 New York World's Fair had perhaps the most colorful and unique lighting fixture of any fair. Dubbed "Luminaires", the lights came in a wide variety of shapes and colors, all based on a series of cubes arranged in different patterns. One of the colorful fixtures is seen with a Brass Rail snack bar in the background. (CD #7 Set 32 #5)
 
Many of the angular bases that held the luminaires on the poles held speakers which were tied into a public address system. This allowed the Fair to broadcast background music and announcements  (CD #62 Set 255 #16)
 
The colored side panels really came to life at night, making the grounds much more colorful and alive than any conventional streetlight could. (CD #53 Set 227 #3)
 
The luminaires uses specially designed square lighting panels inside each cube to provide the maximum amount of light. These panels allowed for a more even look that conventional round bulbs would have. (CD #29 Set 156 #12)
 
Here a row of luminaires stretches off into the distance along New York Avenue. There was actually a plan to how these oddly shaped lights were distributed. Early on during the Fair construction one article mentioned that the lights would change in color and size based on their distance from the Unisphere, theoretically allowing guests to find their way through the grounds via this pattern. In actuality, the distribution pattern was much more complex than that and references to that plan were dropped.

For complete information on all of the various shapes, colors, and locations of the luminaires please refer to the Operations Drawing Manual available on this site. (CD #52 Set 225 #38)


 
When the Fair closed all of the colorful luminaires were pulled down and replaced with traditional streetlights. The futuristic lights were available for several years in a salvage yard near the fairgrounds, eventually finding new homes in several far-flung locations, including a theme park in New England, resorts in the Poconos, the state fair grounds in Oklahoma, and the Orange County fair grounds in New York. Most of them have since been retired, but a large collection of them remain in use in Orange County. A few luminaires have made it into private collections as well. (CD #TBD Set 324 #12)
 


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