This vivid, color film reel of various New York City locales in 1939 is, sadly, something of a mystery as the person who posted it on Youtube declined to comment on it or allow comments (due to racist sentiments apparently). Still, it’s quite a find. In three minutes we get a quick but thorough tour of the island, beginning on Fifth Avenue in mid-town where we get a glimpse of a ‘Childs’ open-air restaurant (where Pina Colada’s were five cents). We see views of the Elevated Train (can’t tell which one–there were El’s on 9th Ave., 6th Ave, 3rd and 2nd Ave), a brief bit of Chinatown and a nifty stop in Harlem, where we pause on the corner of Lenox Ave and 125th Street. From thence onto Washington Square where happy youths cavort in bathing suits in the fountain. Back in midtown we see the wonderful double-decker Fifth Avenue buses and get a ride on the top of one, where we observe firsthand the astounding fact that traffic on Fifth actually ran in both directions once upon a time. (How this was possible is beyond explanation–it even looked more orderly and less crowded then it does now and there was parking on the street as well). We end this day on the roof of 30 Rock and we end this year (the 11th of this blogs life–Jesus!) with this sweet reminder of our great city’s past which, in retrospect, doesn’t really look all that different than it does today except for the automobiles which, sadly, look like Prius’s now instead of Chrysler Phaetons…


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