Since today was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park, since the New York State Pavilion was going to be open to the public for a few hours today to celebrate the anniversary, since today was the last day of my boyfriend’s spring break, and since today was my day off this week, I decided that we should go visit.

The pavilion was scheduled to be open from 11:00 – 2:00.  No reservations were necessary, and the only notation was that visitors would be given hard hats before they went in.  I’m guessing they didn’t expect so many people were going to show up.  I estimated that there were over a thousand of us, but according to the Daily News more than 2500 people showed up!

We got there just after 11:00, and the line was already enormous.  My boyfriend dropped me off to find a parking space, and I eventually found the end of the line near the carousel.

Standing on Line Near the Carousel

Eventually, he found a spot and joined me.  I figured that we might be standing on line for an hour or more, but I had no idea that the line would move so slowly that by the time we got to the pavilion entrance it would be almost 2:00.

On the Bridge Over the Highway

The atmosphere on the line was less stressful than it could have been, in part because the family in front of us and the women behind us were nice and friendly.  It was through talking to them that I learned that an episode of McCloud was filmed here, and that an old photograph I thought was especially cool was taken from the plane that was casting its shadow below:

Plane Shadow Over NYS Pavilion in 1981

We would point out interesting things to each other and hold each others’ places in line so that we could peek through fences and take pictures of stuff close up.

Looking Up at the Towers

So what could have been a miserable time on line wasn’t so bad.   Don’t get me wrong — I was exhausted and my back was killing me from all that standing.  But at least I wasn’t miserable.

And then we got to the front of the line.

Okay, we’d had some inklings that this process wasn’t going to go as smoothly as we would have liked.  The line was moving so slowly that we didn’t know how many people they were letting in at a time, especially since we figured that part of the whole point of getting inside the pavilion was to see what was left of the terazzo map that took up the entire floor.  So maybe they were only letting in very small groups, which was going to be a big problem since so many people showed up.  Then there was the guy who approached us when we’d already been standing on line for two hours who said, “I don’t want you to be disappointed, but they’re only letting people into a small area of the pavilion.” But, you know, we weren’t going to give up our places in line, or anything.

Then we got to the front of the line, where we were given numbered tickets.  The good news was that we didn’t have to stand in line anymore.  The bad news was that we would only be let in when our numbers were called … which would be in about two hours.

And OMG, Dear Readers, I felt like I could just pass out then and there.

I needed to go home and lie down with a heating pad.  There was no possible way I could hang around Queens for ANOTHER TWO HOURS so that I could be let into a small area on one side of the building … because yes, we had peeked through the gate on the far side and seen that they were only letting in small groups to an area right near the entrance:

This is as Close as We Got

And while that might have been worth seeing if we just got there, it WASN’T worth a five-hour wait.  So we walked around for about twenty more minutes taking pictures of World’s Fair stuff, and then we packed up and went home, where I bonded with my heating pad for a while and loosened the knots in my back.