Better Living Building / February 13, 1963
GROUNDBREAKING AT THE NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965
Following is a transcription of remarks made
by Better Living Building and World's Fair
officials at the groundbreaking ceremony for
the Better Living Building, New York-
World's Fair, February 13, 1963.
DOUGLAS LAPHAM,[Vice President for the Better
Living Building]: Mr. Stone, distinguished guests. Wel-
come to the groundbreaking ceremony for the beginning
of the construction of the Better Living Building. I
would first like to introduce the head of the Industrial
Section of the Fair, Mr. Martin Stone.
MARTIN STONE: I want to welcome all of you here
to the site of the Fair. As you can see, a great deal of
construction is going on, and a good deal more will be
seen through the following months. We are particularly
delighted to have you here for the occasion of the Better
Living Building groundbreaking. We have seen the blood
and the sweat and the tears that have gone into this mo-
ment, and we are delighted to see it happen. Thank you.
DOUGLAS LAPHAM: Thank you Martin. Just before
our ceremony, I would like to call attention to some of the
distinguished visitors who are here with us today. Mr.
George Spargo, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Author-
ity; Mr. Ed Cunningham, of the Grocery Manufacturers
of America ; Mr. Munro Gill of Mohasco Industries ; Stan
Finch of the Gas Pavilion, who is one of our neighboring
exhibitors in the area. Mrs. Dorothy Draper is on the
platform with us. Mrs. Draper is designing a Dream
Home in the building. Mr. F. M. Sloan, vice-president of
Cover: The Better Living Building will dramatize all the major aspects of our daily lives under one roof. Situated
on a three-and-one-half acre plot, the three-story pavilion will be the largest in the Industrial Area. Architects,
John Lo Pinto & Associates. Contractor, Thompson-Starrett Construction Co., Inc.
H963 New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation
Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Mr. John Lo Pinto,
architect for the Better Living Building. Mr. Van Raalte,
chairman of the board of Thompson-Starrett Company,
the contractor for the building. Mr. Gar)- Pizzarelli, presi-
dent of Dorothy Draper's enterprises. Mr. W. W. Paddon
who is president of Sunshine Biscuits, one of our exhib-
itors in the building.
Mr. John W. Red, Jr., executive vice-president of the
Canada Dry Corporation is also on the platform with us.
Mr. William Ewen of the Borden Company. Mr. Whit-
ford Mays, president of Morgan-Jones Company. And
finally, Mr. William Berns, vice-president for Fair Com-
munications and Public Relations.
And now I am going to ask Mr. Martin Stone to step
before the microphone again to present the plaque on the
beginning of the building. Mr. Stone.
MARTIN STONE: I am sorry that Mr. Moses could
not be here for this occasion but in his stead, I have the
privilege of presenting this medallion to Edward Burdick,
here in behalf of the Better Living Building. I think it
is particularly appropriate that a medal be struck for Ed
Burdick. No one has shown more faith, more confidence,
or more integrity than Ed Burdick, and in behalf of the
New York World's Fair I am delighted to present him
with this official medallion of the Fair.
EDWARD BURDICK: Mr. Stone, officials of the
World's Fair Corporation, distinguished guests and ex-
hibitors, members of the press: Thank you all for coming.
I had written "under these adverse weather conditions."
I changed it to "under this beautiful sun" and now I will
add "under this rather bad wind."
I accept this World's Fair placjue as a tribute to our
exhibitors who have materially expressed their confidence
in our undertaking, and to our staff who have worked so
tirelessly over a period of two years to make this occasion
possible. As many people have said, it has not been easy.
I don't think anything in life that is worthwhile is easy.
We have had the specific problem of on the one hand, to
get exhibitors without a building; and on the other, to
get a building without exhibitors. So it's been a rather
Seneca, the ancient Roman philosopher, said "Life is
a gift of the immortal gods, but living well is the gift of
philosophy." To substantiate Seneca's thinking, we today
With Elsie, the Borden Cow, and her keeper, supervising, Edward Burdick pushes a plunger which blasted for the
start of construction on the Better Living Building. Watching are (left to right) William Ewen, director of advertising for
Borden; Martin Stone, director of the Fair's Industrial Section; J. P. Van Raalte, chairman of the board for Thompson-
Starrett Construction Co., Inc.
are breaking ground and starting actual construction of
the Better Living Building. In this building we will pre-
sent to our exhibitors not a trade show, not a county fair
with rows of Aunt Matilda's pickles, the latest antima-
cassars or the local strong man exhibition — but a pre-
planned, coordinated free flow of series of major exhibits,
visually showing the present and future keys to a produc-
tive and satisfying life.
Exhibits in our building will include not only the home,
its planning, construction and furnishing, but also stress
the cultivation of the mind, the spirit, and our physical
well-being through proper food, and beverage, exercise,
entertainment and leisure time activity. Of importance in
our presentation of better living will be the outside influ-
ences, materials and sources upon which our contemporary
Coordinated exhibits by individuals and group inter-
ests, each keyed to an overall explanatory theme, will
explain the general fields of health, outdoor living, fash-
ion, youth activities, recreation, security, sports and science
as well as the machines and equipment in our workaday
world that directly and indirectly contribute to a better
way of life. Ten feature areas are planned at present and
are under various phases of development.
1) A special major area within the building to be
known as the Grocery Manufacturers of America Pavil-
ion, presenting a cooperative exhibit, tying in with the
GMA theme — Life Line of America — Food from
Farm to Table.
2) A major location featuring the resources council of
the AID, and their sponsorship of a coordinated bevy of
room settings, product displays and material exhibition
of the finest available in home furnishings.
3) A coordinated exhibition showing how industry
serves youth, and a special area devoted to youth activities.
4) A specially designed, completely equipped and fur-
nished home by Dorothy Draper, the internationally fa-
mous designer and interior decorator, showing her concept
of a 1964-plus dream home.
5) A world of jewelry exhibition, featuring precious
gems and rare metals.
6) A toy and hobby pavilion, showing not only the use
but the methods of manufacture in a thematic setting.
7) An unusual and exciting crystal palace of fashion,
featuring a coordinated series of daily style shows and
exhibits of good grooming.
At the groundbreaking ceremonies: Martin Stone, direc-
tor of the Fair's Industrial Section; Mrs. Dorothy Draper,
designer of a Dream Home that will be featured in the
Better Living Building; Edward Burdick, president of Ed-
ward H. Burdick Associates, Inc., sponsors for the Better
Living Building, who accepted the official Fair medallion.
8) An enclosed high fidelity salon, demonstrating the
finest in music and sound.
9) A feature area with audience participation covering
outdoor living and sports of all seasons.
And 10) a special area — Man's Health and His World,
combining medical, pharmaceutical and health agencies.
The Better Living Building will contain 4,000,000 cu.
ft. of air-conditioned space. Right now we are not worried
about air conditioning, are we? Comprising the largest
edifice now planned in the Industrial Area of the Fair,
the eighty-foot high structure will be faced with trans-
lucent plastic, allowing the entire building to glow like
a jewel at night. Access to six levels of exhibits will be
by electric escalators to the top floor, and to the lower
floors by ramp.
We who have been so closely associated with this proj-
ect over the past three years, and in my case through
experience in the preceding six World's Fairs, feel con-
fident that our building will be a must stop on the agenda
of all 70,000,000 Fair visitors. Our reasoning is based
upon the great diversity of human interest exhibits that
will attract and hold the attention of men, women and
children, of all ages, and of all interests in life.
Finally let me say we are proud to be an important
part of what should be the greatest World's Fair in his-
tory, and proud to play our role in its theme "Peace
through Understanding." And now the actual ceremony,
placing the structural aspects of this exciting building in
the very capable hands of our architect, Mr. John Lo
Pinto, and our builders, Thompson-Starrett. Thank you.
DOUGLAS LAPHAM : And now to the actual ground-
breaking ceremony. We are going to have a groundbreak-
ing featuring this famous lady who is in front of us here,
Borden's Elsie, and at this moment if Mr. Van Raalte,
Mr. Stone and Mr. Burdick would go down in front of
the platform, we'll have the first groundbreaking cere-
mony after which we would like Mrs. Draper and Mr.
Sloan of Westinghouse, to be pictured, then we would
like the Canada Dry representatives to be pictured; and
finally, we would like the Sunshine people to be pictured.
We will thus have all of these very famous personalities
involved in the groundbreaking.
If you will stand aside from that portion of the ground
where the switch is located, Elsie will officially supervise
setting off the blast to begin the building.
BETTER LIVING BUILDING
/ BETTER \
# N-w York World. y«nr X
\ LIVING /
BETTER LIVING BUILDING
104 East 40th Street, New York 16, N. Y. TN 7-3180
EDWARD H. BURDICK, President and Treasurer
JACK H. PER-LEE, Vice-President and Secretary
DOUGLAS A. LAPHAM, Vice-President
Flushing 52, N.Y.
WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965
Tel. 212-WF 4-1964
ROBERT MOSES, President
THOMAS J. DEEGAN, JR., Chairman of the Executive Committee
WILLIAM E. POTTER, Executive Vice President
CHARLES POLETTI, Vice President, International Affairs and Exhibits
STUART CONSTABLE, Vice President, Operations
WILLIAM A. BERNS, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
ERWIN WITT, Comptroller
MARTIN STONE, Director of Industrial Section
GUY F. TOZZOLI, (Port of New York Authority) Transportation Section
ERNESTINE R. HAIG, Secretary of the Corporation and
Assistant to the President
WILLIAM WHIPPLE, JR., Chief Engineer