New York Documentary
This review is only about nine years late – but I’m sure there are some kids or U.S. newcomers out there who might find this show interesting.
Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been watching “New York,” the 1999 PBS documentary by Ric Burns. This eight part (two hours each) explores the city from its roots as a Dutch trading post, to the neighborhoods, streets grids, and Central Park, and the city’s current status as the business and cultural anchor of the U.S.
Its been a bit of a jaw dropping downer at times as one social or financial calamity after the next hits, including a 1910 sweatshop fire which killed over 100 teenage girls. The narrator and speakers also dispel the wishful history of happy diverse harmony between races and classes.
Episodes 4 and 5 have by far been my favorites, which details the construction of the subway, the development of the theatres and Broadway during the Roaring 20s, and the incredibly rapid construction of the Empire State Building.
If you find yourself bedridden for a week, or you’re a schoolteacher trying to fill an extra week in U.S. History – I highly recommend this. Despite the plodding nature of this program, (it was probably meant to fill a season,) I am enjoying this history lesson. Just three more to go!