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Parking Lot Series: 1939 New York World’s Fair Facility Reopens in 1947

Today’s feature image is a partial view of one of the 1939 New York World’s Fair parking lots in the Willits Point section of the Corona neighborhood of Queens, a borough of New York City. The “Long Island Daily Press” picture dates to November 18, 1947, the day that the parking lot reopened. The expandable sectional photos (below) contain a mix of pre and post-World War II automobiles.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Queens Library. View over one-hundred other images in the Parking Lot Series.


33 responses to “Parking Lot Series: 1939 New York World’s Fair Facility Reopens in 1947

    • Charley, the black over white sedan appears to be a ’41 Packard Clipper. On the ’42 and up to ’47, the grille wrapped around.

  1. Too many to ID for me, as I’m at the office. But in the front row bottom center next to a black `47-`48 Chevy coupe is a rather rare `42 model that’s even two-toned!

    • I’m glad that you were able to identify that car as I sure couldn’t. The car next to that one though which no one has ID’d is a 1937 Hudson sedan and next to that following the parking space is what appears to be a mid 1930’s Packard.

  2. The thing I love most about the parking lot photos is the way they show us a cross section of America and Americans. In these we see cars that survived the war, including some that were old before the war began, and we see a few new ones that were obtained by some very lucky folks in the first 18 months after the war. Overall, what a beautiful collection of fascinating machines!

  3. Unless I miss my guess that white car with a black roof is a Hudson ‘bath tub.’ A new post war model for them. It wasn’t long after that they went belly up.
    Surprised to see the Jeep, tho’. Didn’t know they surplus’d them that soon after WWII.

    • According to internet sources Willys began production of a civilian version of the Jeep in July 1945 with larger headlights than the military version. The Jeep in this November 1947 photo appears to have those headlights so it is probably not a surplussed WW II vehicle.

    • Hi Ron, maybe it was one of those surplus Jeeps from the back of Popular Mechanics for $75 bucks, in a crate packed in cosmoline. Some say that was an urban legend, while others swear it was true.

      • Howard, I could be wrong, but thought someone on the west coast had 2 of those crated jeeps. Also, it was “said” that the army literally buried some of those crates in the desert when the war ended. (How true that is depends on the source, of course!)

        • Hi Will, I heard that too, the guy went to some military storage yard in Cal. in the ’50’s(?)and picked up several, something about them being stacked to sky, and you couldn’t look at them, just take the next crate down. 2 he kept, and sold the others. I heard also, someone purchased one, had a bad accident and tried to sue the govt. That’s when they all, allegedly, were scrapped. I still think there’s still a warehouse somewhere with a bunch. I suppose Mike and Frank will find them.

          • Nothing to do with your usual fine photos, but a memory of my first trip to America in September 1966. My mother was brought up in Salina, Kansas, and her brother loaned me his Volvo P1800 for my drive there from Lansing. The windscreen wipers weren’t working, so with rain possible I went to the foreign car dealership in Salina. The proprietor remembered the family, and wouldn’t charge me. He said that, late in WW2 when new cars were unobtainable he visited the Hudson company, and there was a batch of 1940 right hand drive Hudsons which didn’t get shipped to New Zealand because we were at war from September 1939. He bought the cars, so there were right hand driveHudsons running around Kansas in the mid 1940s.

  4. Where did all the Fords go? I see only a handful but love the 1934 (?) Ford convertible in the back of the fourth row, center.

  5. In Item 1 of 2, 1st row on the left, a ’46 or ’47 Hudson Commodore next to a ’46 Chevy and a ’42 Chevy, 2nd row on the left, a ‘47-1/2-’48 Frazer…6 cars to the right a ’46-’48 Dodge next to a pair of ’41 Fords: a convertible and a Tudor.
    In the top row to the left, another ’46-’48 Dodge next to a likely early ’47 Frazer.

  6. In that same Item 1 of 2, 3rd row, on the left, a ’47 Pontiac Torpedo 2-dr sedan…and next to the Frazer in the top row, a ’41 Olds Special (Series 66 or 68) convertible.

  7. It’s amazing how orderly the parking is…possibly the residual effects of war-time regimentation lingering.
    Also, at two years into peacetime, not even one set of whitewalls.

  8. Bill Mack, the Alfa is an intriguing guess. At first glance I thought it was a Clipper, but somehow the vertical grill seemed too ovoid. Then I went and looked at some Clippers and thought yes, it does look more like a Clipper than an Alfa, mainly for how the lower horizontal grills appear. But can’t say for sure, it’s too indistinct. Too bad it’s not a little closer to the front of the photo. If it’s an Alfa, it must be REALLY rare — how many Alfas were being sold here in the late ’40s? A few hundred a year? But if you were going to buy one, odds are you lived in either NYC or LA, I would guess.

  9. David,

    Really nice picture !!

    Hope your computer problems are over.

    In the lead photograph, on the far left, 2nd row from the left and 2nd car in, is a 1947 to ’48 KAISER.


  10. Considering that during this era cars were not cheap (new ones averaging over $1200.00, against an average annual income of less than $3,000.00) and good used ones still in short supply, one wonders why they usually appear in photos like these to have been so poorly maintained — at least cosmetically. Could it be that most folks just didn’t know what a little rubbing compound and polish would do for those quickly-oxidizing nitrocellulose paint jobs?

  11. AS far as I can research there were no Alfa sedans with this colour split. I cannot find any reference to export sedans until after this period.There a few shots of Clippers in this colourway.10 .06 bst

  12. Looks to me like a pre-war perhaps junior Packard Clipper. The Kimes Packard book has a shot of this colour scheme on a two door. The centre grill seems to have too many horizontal elements for this to be a post war Clipper. Alfas were never this big, surely, in 1947.

  13. White wall tires were not being made at this time anyone showing a 1946 car at a show is wrong to have white walls on it.

  14. I note that the cars appear to have been parked by an attendant. There’s no way that many people would all park so uniformly, all parked in the same direction and evenly spaced.

    I note too, that this must have been around the time driving a pre-war car would become somewhat embarassing. The new cars that lost the bulbous fenders and running boards really stood out as fresh.

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