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The Depression

July 2024
1min read

What I’d like is twenty-four hours in New York City in the depths of the Depression. Say my birthday on May 9, 1932. I’d like to see the city with the brownstones before the glass towers came, the speakeasies, the multitude of newspapers, the smell of a nation in trouble beyond what we can imagine. I’d pop down to Whitehall Street to see recruiting officers in Sam Browne belts, I’d walk along East Side tenement streets thinking about what this real estate would be worth, one day. I’d listen to what they were saying about Hoover when he was President Hoover, not an evil spirit dragged up for political condemnation. I’m sure the food in most restaurants would be awful—at least that has improved in this half-century—but I’d like to be among people who dressed right, kept their dignity and their class —or so I imagine—and knew who they were and what they were. Give me that! Twenty-four hours only, though, please.

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