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Astrotarium: 1959

Astrotarium: 1959

        Yes, the Russians had their Sputnik, but we were first with the interplanetary bounce-house.

March 31, 1959. "The 'Astrotarium,' the world's only planetarium in a big top, makes its first appearance in the New York area at Abraham & Straus (Babylon) during the week of March 30. Admission to the astronomy and space show, sponsored by A&S to promote public interest in science, will be free. The planetarium will be set up in a parking lot adjacent to A&S-Babylon at the Great South Bay Shopping Center." View full size.


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A science nonprofit brought a similar planetarium to my kids' elementary school a few years ago. It was an inflatable half dome, with people sitting directly on the gym floor, and projection equipment displaying stars above. It was half the size of the Astrotarium though. That thing could easily have rows of chairs inside.

Shopping in A&S

was always a treat. Sure it didn't have the plastic model selection TSS Stores or Woolworth had, but it was high end and you were treated that way when shopping. When A&S vacated the premises it became a Caldor, then a National Wholesale Liquidators. A sad end to a once proud store. Still stands, vacant.

Photo courtesy Babylon Village Patch

Twenty years earlier

New York had the Trylon & Perisphere.


I love the placement of the exclamation point after "Portable Planetarium." It had to be big, but there just wasn't any room.

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