Color film of New York in 1939


Here’s a wonderful 2:50 minute film made by a French tourist in New York in 1939 — and it’s in color! (Great soundtrack, too.)

Cars, dresses, hats, suspenders, elevated railways, Harlem, and more, it ends with a great pan of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building from the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center.

Chrysler copy

William Bond, main character in China’s Wings,  spent the first three months of 1939 in the United States, and he went to New York several times to meet with his corporate superiors at Pan Am headquarters — which was in the Chrysler Building. This film shows his exact milieu.

I would imagine those visits included lunch and lunchtime martinis in the Cloud Club, the former speakeasy built under the stainless steel carapace on the top floors of the Chrysler Building.

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