Happy Saturday again, folks! I’m back with some of my dad’s photos he took during a trip in 1939 to see the New York World’s Fair. In case you didn’t know—I certainly did not—the fair’s theme that year was “Dawn of a New Day,” & with “the eyes of the Fair…on the future,” it focused on “World of Tomorrow.” Interestingly, to me at least, none of the photos I have show the fair itself. Until I see some other photos when visiting my mother next month, I can’t say for sure whether this was just “luck of the draw” on the photos I received or if my shutterbug dad actually didn’t take photos at the fair. That seems rather unlikely.
The fair ran from April to October in both 1939 & 1940; this pretty well dates my father’s photos to September 1939, since he wrote “Fall ‘39” on the back of each. He was one of 44 million visitors to the exhibition, which has since been memorialized in such diverse works as Alfred Hitcock’s Mr & Mrs Smith, E.L. Doctorow’s World’s Fair, & Aimee Mann’s Fifty Years After the Fair—just to name a few.
The shots of New York City my father did capture say quite a bit about his interests. Both the photo of the Henry Hudson Parkway & the photo of the George Washington Bridge are structural, & my father was most certainly a builder at heart. He built everything from houses, boats & cabinets to clocks, wooden marble runs (I forget the German name for these), limberjacks, & whirlygigs or windmills (the wooden contraptions with a propeller that can be a man chopping wood or a woman churning butter). In fact, he was accepted to the Colorado School of Mining with the intent of obtaining an engineering degree, but was unable to attend due to his family’s poverty. There’s little doubt that he had the mind of an engineer.
The photo of the boats on the Hudson shows another of my father’s most keen interests—boating, & especially boating with the intent of fishing. I have never known anyone as obsessed with fishing as my father! He continued to fish until he was around 90 years old in fact, by this time having relocated to Florida & fishing in the Gulf. One upshot of this was that my family ate inordinate quantities of fish when my sister & I were growing up, & neither of us cares much for fish at this point! He used to talk about sailing when he was stationed in the Phillipines during World War II—one of his pleasant war memories, & one of the few that he’d talk about. He also built a wonderful boat that we used for fishing & waterskiing & pleasure rides—it was called the “Off We Go,” driven by an old 30-horsepower Evinrude outboard motor.
Hope you enjoy the photos!