Empire State Building 1936

Empire State Building 1936

I love looking at old historical photos like this. This photo was taken in 1936 at the Empire State Building. All sorts of thoughts… who was this man? How long did he live? What did he live to see during his lifetime? What was his daily life like? Did he smoke? Most men did back in those days… what did he die from? Did he have a family? If so, how many children? Who was his wife and how long did she live? How many of his descendants are alive today?

And then there’s the fact that all of those drivers of all of those cars in this photo are dead now. Who were they? What were they all doing on this day back in 1936? Where were they headed that day, and for what reasons? What were their concerns? What were they thinking about as they went about their business that day? What were they happy about? What were they sad about? What were their religious beliefs? What were their political beliefs? What were their daily lives like? How long did they live? What did they get to see and do during their lifetimes? How many of their descendants are alive today?

And those cars, trucks, and buses have long been in the junk yard, except for a few that might remain in private hands and might still be decent condition… But how long were those vehicles on the road and what are their histories? When were they purchased? What make and year model were they? Where were they purchased? How much did they cost? How many owners? How many vehicles stayed in the family over generations and how many of them were sold to other families? How many fun family vacations were taken in those cars? How many miles were on each before they had to be retired or junked? What maintenance had to be done on them?

Do those buildings still exist? How much have they changed in the last 80 years? Are there newer buildings at these addresses now? How much have those streets changed in the last 80 years? How many businesses have come and gone at those addresses over the last 80 years?

What became of the clothes this man was wearing that day? Thrown away when they wore out? Passed down in the family? Donated to the needy? So much to think about in one photo taken 80 years ago of a window washer in New York City… what became of his tools and equipment? it’s fascinating stuff! 🙂