See what New York City looked like in 1939 in this rare, color movie shot on 16mm Kodachrome


posted Monday, June 3, 2013 at 11:53 AM EDT


Old color film footage of city life never fails to fascinate because it's like stepping into a time machine. Last month, we shared a fantastic color film of London in 1927, and now we can travel forward in our time machine to New York City in 1939.

The below clip from the Romano Archives was captured in the summer of 1939 in NYC by French tourist Jean Vivier. Vivier shot the film on 16mm Kodachrome and it's in impressively good condition. (Though we quibble with the veracity of the title of the clip, which claims the footage is in "HD Color.")

Interestingly, there are no scenes included of the 1939 World's Fair in Queens, though it's possible that's on another reel. Otherwise, summer in New York looks surprisingly familiar nearly 75 years ago: swarmed with tourists, many who fill double decker buses and ride around the city. The old cars are a delight, particularly the giant yellow taxi cabs cruising past the Empire State Building.

(Via Kottke)