A film about life of the negro people of Harlem in New York City. Scenes of Harlem, New York City, at dusk and nighttime. Elevated train carrying passengers uptown to Harlem. Commuters coming out of subway station. Kids gathered on the sidewalk. Actor, Ossie Davis, early in his career, is seen at a lunch counter talking to another man. Couples in an upscale restaurant. Exteriors of various ball rooms. People dance, including Whitey's Lindy Hoppers and other dancers performing at the Savoy Ballroom. Couples talk. Couples in formal dress dance to smooth ballroom music. Several girls tap dancing at a cabaret as jazz musicians play instruments including saxophone and drums. A man enters a building. Aerial view of Harlem at night.
British narrated film discusses people and climate of the United States. Shots of CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) President John L Lewis and Father Coughlin speaking. Harlem street scene. Crowd entering a subway station in New York City. Newspaper headlines posted in China Town New York. Storefronts of Greek and Italian merchants in downtown New York City. Signs seen include 'Grande Deposito Dolio Doliva,' and 'Anthony Coulapides, manufacturer of high grade cigarettes.' Hebrew writing and star of David seen on side of building. Buildings with Spanish language signs in New York. A parade float with Virgin Mary depiction. Wide shot of a vineyard. View of a water wheel turning at a mill. Boys skinny dipping. 1930's and 1940's era cars on deep snow covered roads of an American town. Homes in deep snow. People recline on a beach in Florida in winter while on the same day in New Hampshire people ski, some pulled by horses. People slip while walking across a street during a blizzard. A boy takes removes an apple from an icebox (early refrigerator). Dust storms in farm country of the midwest during the dust bowl. Man races across a field toward a barn as a dust storm bears down on it. A farmer leads his horses out of a corral. A farm is destroyed by dust storms during the dust bowl. A family piles their remaining things on a farm truck and abandons their farm destroyed by the dust bowl. A poor family in a shack in the River Mississippi Valley area.
The paintings of African American Betty Blayton Taylor, director of the Harlem Children's Art Carnival in Harlem, New York. Betty Blayton Taylor looks at her own paintings. Betty Blayton Taylor walks by the Alamo sculpture at 8th St. and Lafayette St. in New York City. Betty Blayton Taylor walks in front of the Rockefeller Center building. Betty Blayton Taylor walks on the grounds of The Lincoln Center and at the New York City waterfront. Harlem streets scenes show Harlem children walking in the street. An African American girl walks on a sidewalk with bicyclists in Harlem. An African American boy walks by a fire engine in Harlem. An African American boy crosses a street in Harlem towards a church. Sign over door reads, "Harlem School of the Arts present The Children's Art Carnival. Created and Sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art." Betty Blayton Taylor is seen helping African American children to paint, sculpt and collage at the Children's Art Carnival. Betty Blayton Taylor is seen painting.
A boy walks into a building in Harlem, New York City, where corner stone reads, AD 1940. Two little girls on the sidewalk with a string, try to swing it together as if playing "Double Dutch" with a real jump rope. A woman shopper walks behind them. A little boy roller skates along the sidewalk. Two boys interact with each other. One wears a white Tee shirt under his sweater, reading: "Harlem Day Camp." A little girl fools around with a jump rope. Two boys throw things at some sort of target. A bigger boy calls to smaller boys to come with him. The two boys climb into the back of a canvas covered truck. A couple stands by a fire hydrant. Two girls climb steps of an apartment building, as another girl throws trash from the top step.
"City Pastorale" shows citizens of New York hurrying about their business during workday on a street in New York City. Vehicular traffic and pedestrians. People riding on the subway. Views of workaday foot traffic along New York sidewalk. Macy's department store. Racks of clothes being wheeled along the streets and sidewalks. Scenes of New Yorkers in hectic activity. In contrast, are shown peaceful scenic views of New York City. Penthouse gardens. Clothes drying on a rooftop line. People entering a number of different churches in Manhattan, New York. A woman in a garden. A man and a boy sit and read newspapers in the garden. The young boy looks at the "funny papers" (comic strips). A man walks with a child on a sidewalk. Cars parked. People chatting on the sidewalk of a New York city street. The Chrysler Building and nearby skyscrapers. People taking pictures with handheld cameras at a playground. Families with babies. Children playing in a park. Quiet streets. Car drives beneath an elevated train. Men walk on a ramp. People relax on beaches. Older women gathered together on the beach talking, while boys play in the sand at the edge of the surf. A huge crowd seated in a baseball stadium and watching a game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, including a shot of Giants pitcher, #36 ( Mickey McGowan ?), throwing from the mound and, in another scene, Giants #23 (Clint Hartung ?) batting and striking out. Views of the fans watching the baseball game, including some men in suits and boys sitting together in the bleachers watching the game and eating ice cream on a stick. Visitors stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Camera pans over name of new "Harlem Boys' Club" and then to inscription on building reading: "The Children's Aid Society of the City of New York." A small negro boy walks along the sidewalk and pauses to look up at the building. The scene is repeated with another take. Closeup of the boy. observers in the background. A girl enters new building, with cornerstone reading: "AD 1940." Several boys and girls of elementary school age enter the building, one at a time. Negro children playing on swings in a play ground. A man pushes a small child on a swing. An apartment house directly across the steet from the playground. View across the playground of the swings and houses across the street. A very small boy walking on the playground.