The New-York Historical Society has a massive show that explores the role of New York in World War II, WWII & NYC. While the front lines of the Second World War raged across the oceans, the great American metropolis gave more than most as it mobilized its citizenry, its resources, and its elites to fight the war on all fronts.
“If the American men and women who fought and won World War II can be described as the Greatest Generation, then New York’s unsurpassed contributions to the war effort can be said to have earned it the title ‘Greatest City,’” says Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of New-York Historical. “What award-winning WWII & NYC curator Marci Reaven will show in this fascinating, and often astonishing exhibition, is how central the city was to a war whose battles were fought thousands of miles away—a story little known by most people today.”
The images they’ve amassed are fascinating documents of that era. The wanted poster for Hitler, by the interventionist group Fight for Freedom, is an effective piece of propaganda, while Thomas Benton’s “Embarkation—Prelude to Death (Year of Peril)” (1942) is a grim reminder about the fate that awaited over 400,000 Americans who served in the military.
The WWII & NYC is on display at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West, Upper West Side, Manhattan) until May 27.
A broad swath of society seems to feel more welcome in a public library rather than a museum. I examined the Brooklyn Public Library as a model of heightened engagement through collective knowledge creation.