Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects in New York City during the Great Depression. Aerial view of New York City as a plane flies by and clouds part to show Manhattan island below. Buildings and skyscrapers of New York City as seen from river and harbor views, with some ships and tugboats seen. Trucks on roads of Governor's Island at tip of Manhattan. An older home seen under renovation and reconstruction. View of the Brooklyn Navy Yard with WPA workers busy building and improving new roads and shops and warehouses near the docks. A bulkhead construction project is shown at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, to reclaim land from the waters of the Bay. The work includes construction of a new Boulevard and sanitary and sewer system improvements. View of the front entrance of the Beaux Arts style Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House on Bowling Green at the tip of Manhattan. Pedestrians and WPA workers are seen in front of the building. WPA laborers on an unidentified Manhattan street (with elevated railway running in background) are busy removing old street car rail lines from the streets, in sections, and loading them into truck beds to haul away. Large public swimming pool and bath house construction projects are shown, influenced by city planner and avid swimmer Robert Moses (scene possibly shows McCarren Park pool - note archway seen under construction). WPA workers are seen building the new East River Drive, including highways, walks, and flanking parks. Construction workers seen building the roadway, with the Williamsburg Bridge in the background. A model of the project is shown with the new drive from Grand Street to 14th Street. Camera pans down from the Empire State Building to show the roof of the New York Public Library teeming with WPA workers as they remove the old corroded copper roof and replace it with a new metal roof. View of busy Manhattan streets below the workers, including a street car passing by.
Film begins showing location of New York City on a world globe, at the mouth of the Hudson River on the East Coast of the United States. It transitions to an aerial view of the Southern tip of Manhattan Island at the junction of the Hudson and East Rivers and slowly shows views moving Northward along the Hudson River. Piers along the Hudson are visible. Scene shifts to above those piers, looking South at the cluster of Manhattan skyscraper buildings, and beyond to New York Harbor, the borough of Queens, and Brooklyn, and beyond to Long Island in the misty distance. Next the skyscrapers are seen from Queens,across the East River. A large ocean liner is seen underway in New York Harbor, among ferry boats, barges, and tugboats. The Statue of Liberty is seen in the background. An animated map shows regions around New York and traces the Hudson and Mohawk valleys into the Great Lakes. The map is then overlaid with numerous lines representing transportation routes by lend, water, and air. View of Brooklyn Bridge, wharfs, and Manhattan skyline in hazy background. Seagoing freighters loading and unloading at New York's piers. A truck and other cargoes being moved by cranes. Passenger trains moving in the New York city area. View of the famous Beaux-Arts style Penn Station by architects McKim, Mead, and White, at West 34th Street and Eighth Avenue, in Manhattan. Train station interior crowded with travelers and commuters. Commercial aircraft taxiing at a New York area airport. Closeup of two young children watching the planes. Passengers deplaning from a large aircraft. Sign for Peruvian International Airways atop an airport building. A Swissair passenger plane being serviced. Passengers boarding a TWA Lockheed Constellation airplane. A family watching airplanes from an airport observation deck. The Lockheed Constellation starting its engines. A Douglas DC-4 aircraft taxis out and takes off, as several boys watch from the observation deck. Closeup of another group of boys watching planes from the observation deck. Aerial view of Manhattan skyscraper buildings from an overflying airplane. Traffic at Times Square. The Astor Hotel at the left and the Times building straight ahead. Several other street scenes in Manhattan, crowded with pedestrians. A view residential apartment houses along Park Avenue. Views of African Americans crowding the sidewalks in Harlem. Views of "Little Italy" in the lower East side of Manhattan, where Italian restaurants and other businesses are seen. Chinatown is seen with some of the business signs in Chinese. A man of Chinese heritage reading a letter. Asian American children playing together in a neighborhood. New high rise apartment buildings are seen replacing older homes in parts of Manhattan. Mothers wheeling their children on sidewalks in one of the new neighborhoods.
Crowd cheers and waves during New York Yankees and New York Giants game in the 1936 World Series at Polo Grounds IV in Manhattan, New york. Yankee manager, Joe McCarthy and Giants manager, Bill Terry on the field and they shake hands. Governor of New York State Herbert H. Lehman throws out first pitch, with Mayor La Guardia beside him. Babe Ruth, guest of honor, watches the match. Crowd cheer as the game proceeds. In next segment: Grover Whalen, President of New York World's Fair Corporation points out highlights of 1939 New York World's Fair on a preliminary model with the help of a stick, for visiting dignitaries. Footage from a September 1961 newsreel hightlighting stories from 25 years earlier.
The legislative and maritime history of the U.S. Merchant Marines in the period between World War 1 and World War 2. Newly launched German, Italian and Japanese ships underway at sea. Ships including the German liner Bremen and the Italian Ocean liner Rex are seen underway. People gather at a dock. American ship underway in heavy seas with waves crashing over. Point of view shot at heavy seas from deck of a ship. A man works in a ship radio room. A man watches through binoculars and uses a sextant. Sailors row a small boat with oars in heavy seas. A sailor decorated by officials of the Merchant Marines. Dock workers and ship construction workers at a shipbuilding yard in the United States working on building new ships. American liners are seen undereway including: SS Washington off shore of New York City skyline and skyscrapers, SS Manhattan also off shore of Manhattan, the SS Lurline, the SS Mariposa, and the SS President Hoover (named for Herbert Hoover) underway at sea. The U.S. flag fluttering from a flag pole. The text of the declaration of policy under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 is shown.
Opening scene shows the White House in Washington, DC. Scene shifts to President Roosevelt seated, ready to address the Nation by radio. View of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. FDR with his entire family posing, in front of the family home "Springwood" at Hyde Park, New York. Roosevelt, when Governor of New York, seen in a sail boat, in 1929. FDR in his car at his Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Georgia. He is speaking with a man associated with the Institute, who then greets several polio victims in wheel chairs there. Crowds celebrating Roosevelt's election, in Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, in 1932. Roosevelt, at the Democratic Headquarters at the Biltmore Hotel on November 8, 1932. He is standing, supported by his son James, as he remarks: "It looks my friends like a real landslide this time." Aerial view of the U.S. Capitol. FDR taking the oath of office on March 4, 1933. A man looking at stock market ticker tape. A group of people raising a National Recovery Administration member flag. Glimpse of "Springwood" and then view of President Roosevelt sitting next to his mother, Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt. Next, as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt sit in the garden, their grandchildren, Anna Eleanor Dall ("Sistie") and Curtis Roosevelt Dall ("Buzzie") come past riding horses, with granddaughter Sara, behind them on a pony. FDR pets the pony and talks with Sara. FDR being nominated for a second term as President, in the 1936 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Roosevelt, riding in an inaugural motorcade as he begins an unprecedented 4th term as President in 1941. Glimpse of President and Mrs. Roosevelt in an open car. West point cadets marching in the inaugural parade. Military trucks towing artillery pieces in the parade. President Roosevelt speaking at the dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association at the Willard hotel in Washington, DC, March 15, 1941. He extols the virtues of Winston Churchill and the British people. And he promises that America will supply them with the war materiel they need (This is known as the Lend Lease Speech.)
Manhattan Island in New York City, United States. A map shows the location of the five Boroughs in the New York City. A sign reads ' New York City' and marks Route 25D (Horace Harding Boulevard) on boundary between Queens County in the city and Nassau County on Long Island. .Camera pans to the Nassau County side where newly constructed homes are seen. Closeup of one of the houses, shows a small child coming out the front door to pick up two bottles of milk left by the milkman on the stoop. More views of homes in this neighborhood. A man throws a newspaper on steps of a house. Commuters (mostly headed to Manhattan) fill the platform at a station of the Long Island Railroad, and board a train as it arrives. View of the train heading West with Manhattan skyline visible in distance. View of train in major rail yard in Queens, with skyscrapers of Manhattan visible in distance.The Empire State and Chrysler Buildings are recognizable. Views of Ferry boats crossing to and from Manhattan,with sky scrapers in background. Passenger's view of ferry approaching battery terminal and docking. Commuters leaving the ferry.