I’m finding these old color home movies highly evocative and vivid. Yesterday’s post was a trip from LaGuardia Airport to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Today we’re at the 1939 Worlds Fair in Queens, NY. This footage isn’t about the amazing buildings and exhibits. Instead it documents the Fair’s patrons, the people wandering the lanes of the fairgrounds. The magnificent Artie Shaw recording of ‘All The Things You Are’ perfectly accompanies a documentation of what people dressed like, walked like and how they carried themselves that becomes (for me) an oddly mesmerizing and calming journey into the past. Do people look different than they do now? Yes and no. People are people. Yet I find a sense of rectitude, of ‘the appropriate’, in their demeanor and in the calm and gentle way in which they go about their leisurely business. The lack of cell phones (which isolate us from one another) helps. But there’s also a way in which they appear to be with each other that feels different than now. It’s hard to put my finger on but I guess what I see is a more ‘in the moment’ vibe coming from these folks. A gentler and less aggressive posture for sure. Yes I know, the most devastating war of the century was just moments away; the horrific depression still was a going thing; all kinds of class and race distinctions existed that don’t now (or almost don’t as the case may be). This is a portrait of a very different America though, one lived at a very different tempo.


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