Experience the 1939 World’s Fair Through This Short Film

Anna Green
Aeon Video, Vimeo
Aeon Video, Vimeo / Aeon Video, Vimeo

In 1939, the World’s Fair brought the “world of tomorrow” to New York City’s Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The Expo featured modernist architecture, futuristic technologies, and thrilling amusement park rides. For kids growing up in New York City during the Great Depression, it was an unimaginable wonderland.

In Amanda Murray’s short documentary, World Fair, a group of New Yorkers reminisces about what it was like to visit the Fair as kids and young adults. They tell stories of mesmerizing aquatics shows, fake lightning displays, amazing illusions, and what it felt like to see a television for the first time. They also talk about the ways the Depression shaped their experience of the Fair—the feeling of stepping out of Depression-era New York, and into a futuristic utopian world which, among other marvels, included free candy and soda. 

By focusing on childhood memories of the World’s Fair, the film provides a unique—and touching—perspective on a historical event. It also features beautiful home videos of the Fair, shot in color by interview subject Ephraim Horowitz when he was 24 (look out for his wife in the footage—Ephraim says you can recognize her by her “stupid yellow hat”). Check it out below:

[h/t: Aeon]