1930: The Bloomingdale Trivium at West End Avenue, Broadway and 107th Street
It's late on a Thursday so you'll have this throwback on Friday. But do come travel with me in time to just about two months after Black Tuesday, 1929. The new year 1930 has been rung in, it's good and cold, the Great Depression has begun. But unemployment won't peak for three more years in the city.
And the great bellowing lung of our neighborhood, Straus Park, pays it all no heed. For here is a town square where folks of all ages come to inhale the fresh, crisp air and to entertain one another. An era before TV, the golden age of radio shines by night, but by day by golly the folks are out.
Fortunate in many ways, but in one we are not: we lack a town square. We lack that knowledge that you can fall out on a daily basis into the local pocket park and meet all your neighbors. It's why I love the yard sales that the Block Associations put on. It's why BAiP's community-building mission is so needed.
We have forgotten how to commune in our own backyard.
The video below is extraordinary for its quality, its crystal clear sound, and the uncanny you-are-there feeling. See Straus Park -- less green, ok -- but more vibrant than you've ever seen it before. See all modes of 1930s transportation, including a rollerskater and a period pram. Get a good gander at Broadway looking north from its intersection at West End Avenue. And get a peep of the back of "Memory" -- far from the star of this movie.
It's perfection. A talkie of a time capsule. And it's yours if you click on the image above since if you are reading this in an email subscription the video won't play.
h/t to the West Side Rag comments section for bringing this beaut to the surface.