Tuesday, March 8, 2016
More From the 1939 New York World's Fair
It must have been an interesting time at the fair. Even though all the countries of Europe were invited to submit a pavilion, Germany declined. All things considered, not a bad idea. In 1938, the Munich Agreement was negotiated by England and Germany, giving part of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. In 1939, the first year of the fair, Germany would take the rest of the country, and Germany and the Soviet Union would invade and dismember Poland. The Czech and Polish pavilions would close for the 1940 season. The Soviets dismantled their building and left a vacant lot in the middle of the fairgrounds.
Of course, the Polish invasion led to declarations of war by France and Great Britain, with German invasions of Denmark and Norway soon to follow. And then the big push, Germany moving through Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, pushing what was left of the British military into the channel at Dunkirk. I can't imagine that smiling German greeters would have been welcome in New York City. In any case, many of the employees of the European pavilions were stranded in New York for the duration.
I don't know whether these photos are all by the same photographer. All I do know is that I found them all stuffed in the same envelope. The picture of the statue and the night shot were both trimmed, so they may, in fact, be the same format as the others, but they were also printed on a different paper, so, different photographer or printed at another time? Who knows. Take a close look at the next to last photo in the column. It's flopped. For those who wish to print for themselves, camera original film reads right through the base, the shinny side. That is, unless, someone deliberately loaded the film backwards. Some people do. Color film, shot through the base, saturates the red dyes on the film. Black & white changes the contrast.