Tag Archives: World’s Fair 1964

Mass Transit: A Traveler’s Delight

22 Nov

Kansas City metro only has one really good accessible mass transit for tourists: the KC Street Car, a free light rail that circles 2.2 miles downtown, featuring Crown Center and the City Market.  Yes, Kansas City does have a bus system, but living in Johnson County, on the Kansas side, I recently realized how cut off we can be without a car.  Our daughter’s brother-in-law was traveling through the USA and wanted to use mass transit whenever possible.  My husband took him to work one day and dropped him off at the Street Car. That gave him an entire day of adventure.

However, it was the start of the Labor Day Weekend.  On Sunday he wanted to take the bus downtown to experience the Irish Festival.  We told him it was impossible. He said,
“No there is a bus a mile away.  I can walk there and take it.  We laughed. My husband showed him on the website that yes there was a bus to downtown, but it would not be running again until Tuesday.  No way to get to the Irish Festival.  (Don’t worry, we arranged for friends to take him.)

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Ferry from NJ to NYC.

It started me thinking about my experience with mass transit.  To begin with, I grew up in New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan.  I spent many hours on busses, trains, subways and taxis.  It was a part of life if you wanted to go anywhere.  Many people who live in New York City do not even own a car.  Of course my mass transit of choice going from New Jersey to NYC is always the ferry!

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Mass Transit tickets

Since moving to the Midwest, I have experienced exciting weekends in Chicago, Illinois, using the mass transit system.  Chicago, like NYC, is another mass transit haven.   Using the Chicago subways is a no brainer.  Going from the airport into the city is so much faster, cheaper and easier than taking a taxi. And getting around to the different areas makes sense on the subways.

In major cities, I try to use the subways to avoid traffic. In Philadelphia we used the Philadelphia Transit Vehicles (PTV), and in Washington DC, using the METRO Transit System is a must to beat the traffic.  I will always remember the very long escalators down into the system when we traveled from a relative’s home in Maryland to downtown DC. Boston also has a mass transit system, the MBTA, that helps college students and travelers get around

I realized that my husband and I use Mass Transit whenever we can.  In Atlanta, the MARTA took us to and from the airport to the downtown hotels.  In California: we adore the Cable Cars in San Francisco. While staying in San Jose, we used the light rail to go the Winchester Mystery House in San and the Tech Museum from our hotel.

We used the light rail in Denver, Colorado, to explore the historic area and travel to and from our hotel. In one of my favorite cities, New Orleans, I used the street car with my children to get from our hotel to the French Quarter!

I have even used the mass transit in St. Louis!  Although I drive there all the time to see family, when I went to a graduation at Washington University, I was told parking was not available. I drove to the nearest MetroLink Station and traveled to the ceremony. What a delight to avoid all the traffic.

One of my favorite ‘mass transit’ rides was on the People Mover ride in Tomorrow Land at Disney World, and of course we love the mass transit success of the Monorail in Disney World.  Does that count?  I think so.  I thought of it recently when we were in Seattle.   I had the opportunity to use the one-mile monorail down to the Sky Needle and the Seattle Center, an area developed for the 1962 World’s Fair.

But it wasn’t only the monorail that had our patronage in Seattle, we also used the light rail system of SoundTransit.  The underground area was so clean!  Currently buses run through these tunnels in downtown Seattle, but I was told that would end in January 2019, as the city prepares for the expansion of its light rail.

I have also used mass transit in other countries.  Vienna, Hungary, we took our children on the subway.  I will admit there was one very loud and screechy turn.  We all held our ears.  In Israel, I have changed my allegiance from the busses to the trains. They are great and have free wi-fi.

The most interesting subway of all was in Athens, Greece. When they dug down to build the subway, the workers kept finding antique treasures. Now in the stations are displays of these lovely objects.  You get a history lesson, while waiting for the subway.

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Funicular in Quebec City.

Another favorite is using a funicular to get up and down a hill.  That was great fun in Quebec City, Canada.  I have used them in other places as well, like the Carmelit underground Funicular in Haifa, Israel, and the one at Marvel Cave in Branson, Missouri (this was my first funicular.)  But the one in Quebec City stands out in my mind.  I have seen them in Valparaiso, Chile, but did not actually need to use one.

All my experiences with mass transit makes me wish that my home town would invest a bit more in helping people move around.  I will admit that recently citizens voted to expand the light rail a bit further south to the shopping areas of Westport and the Plaza, as well as the University of Missouri Kansas City campus.  But it still doesn’t help those who live in my area.  But my dream lives on that eventually the entire city will have an operating, useful light rail system.

It was a Small World at the New York City’s World’s Fair 1964/65

14 Mar

I remember it so well, even though it was almost 50 years ago: the World’s Fair in New York City.  My parents took my brother, sister and I there several times over the two summers it was open in 1964 and 1965.  We were all amazed by the rides and the excitement of being there.  Almost like being in Disneyland, but much closer to home.

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At the World’s Fair. My brother took this photo. 🙂

My sister, who was 5 the summer of 1964, was in love…in love with one ride only ”It’s a Small World.”  She could have sat on that ride all day, every day.  The ride was the UNICEF exhibit, and later it would become a popular ride in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in Disneyworld. But in 1964 and 1965, it was only at the World’s Fair.

I am sure my sister was not the only person to fall in love with both the ride and the song.  And I am sure that my parents were not the only parents to buy the 45 record and bring it home for their child.  And I am also sure, like any other 5-year-old in the world, my sister was not the only child to play the record over and over and over again.

My brother, my parents and I were about to lose our minds. My sister not only played the record, she sang the song constantly, except when we were in school.  Then the record was silent and we all had peace.

My mother was still not working full time that year. She was a substitute teacher, who stayed home when we were at school. Cleaning, cooking, doing all the things a mom did in the 1960s.  So when we came home from school one day, it was not surprising to see our room extremely clean.

What was surprising?  The record was gone.  My sister searched and searched. She finally went to my Mom to ask.  And my Mom had a story of woe.  While she was cleaning she accidentally broke the record.  My sister could no longer play it. In fact it was in so many pieces, she had to throw it out because she did not want us to get hurt.

I was so happy.  I shared a room with my sister. And I had the worst of the song.  I loved my Mom’s cleaning at that moment.  To be honest, I did not even feel sad for my sister.  Just a sense of profound relief!

Fast forward about 10 years.  We were living in a different home on the other side of North Bergen.  And our house was robbed!!! A burglar had broken in and emptied everything out of my parent’s closet.  The room was a mess.  Papers and objects were thrown about, on the floor, on the bed, on the furniture.

And there, amid the mess, what did my sharp-eyed sister see.  YES, the record of  “It’s a Small World.”  It was not broken or thrown away.  The record had been hidden for years by my mother.  She had lied.   My sister was astounded.  “MOM,” she cried. “MY record.  How could you lie to me.”

My Mom said,  “it was driving us crazy.  I had to do something.”

I wish the story would end there.  But years later, I became a mother.  And I took my daughter to Magic Kingdom in Disneyworld, while my husband was at a meeting.  And yes, history does repeat itself.  My daughter, then almost three, fell in love with “It’s a Small World.” I went on that ride over and over and over again.  It was a drizzly day in November and not many people were there.  We could get off and get right back on again. And so we did!

But I had learned an important lesson.  I did not buy the record, CD or whatever music was available.  I could not, would not relive the pain of my childhood of listening to that song one hundred thousand times.  And I am not being over dramatic.

Each time we returned to Disneyworld, my daughter wanted to go to this ride first.  Even my son agreed once he arrived on the scene.  So I was doomed.  I actually began to like it. I was haunted by the song.

And then, almost 20 years after the first time my daughter experienced the ride, she got a taste of what, one day, will be her curse.  She was a senior at Drew University in New Jersey. For spring break, she and four friends did not go on a cruise or to Mexico.  No they spent a week at Disneyworld.  She, of course, wanted to go on “It’s a Small World” over and over and over again.  Her friends did not always want to go.  She tells this story.

It was their last night in Disneyworld. They were at the Magic Kingdom for the parade, and my daughter said,  “Hey, “It’s a Small World” is not busy.  Anyone want to go?”  And they said,  “NO. But you can go.  We will wait for you.”  So she did.  She walked down the long ramp by herself.  And suddenly a young girl came running down as well.

My daughter was surprised. The parents did not come.  They sent their daughter on, and looked  and  waved at my daughter.  My daughter was not sure what to do, but she said to the little girl, “Do you want to sit with me or by yourself?“ Oh she wanted to sit with my daughter. And she talked to her the entire ride.

My daughter was amazed that any parent in 2004 would let their child go alone a ride with a total stranger.  I was not totally surprised.

I figure, they were done. No more “It’s a Small World” for them.  And there was this nice young lady who would rather miss the parade than lose one last chance on their daughter’s favorite ride.  They deserved to be together. And they were.   At the end of the ride, the girl’s mother was waiting for her.  She ran off laughing and happy!  As was my daughter.

Oh the 45 record….my sister still has it.  Safe in her home.  A memory.  As for me, I have CDs of every Disney song…including “It’s A Small World.”

For your enjoyment:  https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/its-a-small-world/