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Bill Cotter

Restored images of the 1939-40 NYWF

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When this site first appeared, there was a discussion of the 1939 NYWF. I remember saying, at that time, that if I could go back in time for just one hour, I would choose to spend that hour in Flushing Meadow Park on a warm and beautiful June afternoon in 1939. These absolutely remarkable photographic images explain why I made that statement. Right now, sitting at my desk in a high school classroom and dealing with well over a hundred kids a day--many of whom have no desire to be here or to partake of the learning process--I wish I could melt into one of those images, to feel the inspiration that was the hallmark of the greatest of all world's fairs held at the very watershed of the Twentieth Century.

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Jim, give the kids a research assignment to find and "bring back" a color photograph of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair and explain to the class what is in the picture that they found. Without giving them any guidance on where to go look, see how many of them end up here at PTU.

Keep the faith- teaching these days is tough but the rewards (non-monetary of course) are great!

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Randy,

I also teach at a junior college in the evenings (I teach history in a local high school and English at a college). We are reading "The Glass Menagerie," and I showed some scenes from a film about The Great Depression to establish the time period of the play. As we discussed the play and the 1930's in general, many students decided that in spite of the difficulties of that era, people remained optimistic. With that, I showed scenes from the film of the 1939 NYWF narrated by Jason Robards. None had ever heard of the Fair much less seen any images of it. They were impressed by the visions of the future, the architectural style, the optimism they saw in the Fair. Of course, when they asked where it was all located, they hated to hear that nothing remains except for the film images they had just seen. Even the concept of a world's fair eluded them. They wanted to know when the "next" fair would be held and where.

Jim

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<!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro-->Sometimes I think that, for some, the past holds only one purpose. That purpose is to enhance the present.

For your students, the past of the fair was, perhaps, an enhancement of possible present (and in the near future) pleasurable experiences.

I think this perspective (wether held by your students or not) unfortunate. It diminishes the rich tapestry of those lives that came before ours. History isn't just a warning or a promise. History is a collection of lives that were as real as our own. <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

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Thanks to a loan from Eric Paddon I have some more slides in this series to share.

4113F - Speed by Joseph E. Renier in Court of Communications

4113.jpg

4122F - Night view of Theme Center. Trylon and Perisphere.

4122.jpg

4123F - The DuPont Building at night is unusually colorful

4123.jpg

4124F - Night view of Independence Hall reflected in lagoon

4124.jpg

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All I can say is breathtaking. The more I see the Trylon & Perisphere the more I think it must have been a site in person that will never be forgotten.

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