Gotham in World War II: A helluva town!
"On the Town" will be screened on May 18.
It’s been almost 65 years since New Yorkers celebrated the end of World War II, but a new book and accompanying film series give today’s residents a window into how life was “On the Town.”
The series, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library, is based on the new book by Lorraine Diehl, “Over Here! New York City During World War II.”
The films, which continue each Tuesday evening through May 18, are discussed in the book and reflect life in the 1930s and into the war years, Diehl said.
“It was not too difficult for people to get on board and say, ‘We are the good guys, we have to win,’” she said.
An “all for one and one for all” attitude infused city life, Diehl said, and while New Yorkers faced privations, they were reasonably sure their homes wouldn’t be bombed. Londoners didn’t have that comfort, and New Yorkers understood that and acted accordingly, volunteering and showing soldiers on leave their appreciation.
But there was a dark side to New York, too. A pro-Nazi movement flourished in the German neighborhood of Yorkville, just as German Jews were flocking across the Atlantic to escape the horror overseas.
A quick look at the World War II-era films being screened
l Tuesday night: “All Through the Night” — It’s Humphrey Bogart versus Nazis in Gotham’s midst.
l April 20: “The House on 92nd Street” — The film’s title is inspired by a Manhattan building that was home to the German-American Bund.
l April 27: “Mr. Lucky” — Cary Grant in a film inspired by the “Bundles for Britain,” the knitting care packages New Yorkers sent to the British.
l May 4: “Saboteur” — German spies set their sights on the Brooklyn Navy Yard
l May 11: “The Clock” — Author Lorraine Diehl called this a valentine to the city. GI Robert Walker finds love with Judy Garland by the clock at Penn Station — the studio built a remarkable fascimile.
l May 18: “On the Town” — Soldiers on leave whoop it up in a musical that celebrates New York’s wonders.
If you go
The series will be shown at the Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at the Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, in Prospect Heights. Take the Nos. 2/3 train to Grand Army Plaza