This is a glimpse of postwar New York City with a focus on the week of April 14, 1946. Most of the boys were back home. The baby boom had begun. The city had emerged as the capital of the world. The nation was struggling to return to normalcy, whatever that was. People looked to pick up their lives where they had left off or to start new ones. But everything had not yet returned to normal, and cultural and political battle lines were being drawn that would transform the city and the nation.
It was the week before Easter and the first Passover since the fall of Hitler. The festivities were dampened somewhat by the continued food shortages with meat, sugar, butter and oils in particularly short supply. (See Easter in New York for more about the holiday situation).
"The Green Years" at Radio City Music Hall and "Dragonwyck" at the Roxie, both of which included a stage show in the price of admission, were the big first-run movies of the week while "The Kid From Brooklyn" at the Astor and "The Virginian" at the Paramount, where comedian Eddie Bracken and singer Bob Eberly, were headlining the live show were the two big openings. "Adventure," starring Clark Gable and Greer Garson, was the main attraction at the neighborhood theaters. (See Going to the Movies for more on the films playing that week in New York.)
New Yorkers who had the money went to the theater more often back then. It had not been an illustrious season in the opinion of the critics, who passed over both "State of the Union" and "Born Yesterday" for best play honors. Holdovers from past seasons like "Oklahoma" and "Harvey" and revivals like "Show Boat" and "The Red Mill" dominated the box office, but as the "Victory Season" neared its end, two hits were on their way: the topical revue "Call Me Mister," capturing the mood of the returning vets, was opening this week and the highly anticipated Irving Berlin musical "Annie Get Your Gun" was scheduled to open later that month. (See Broadway for more on what was playing and what was being talked about.)
The Marc Chagall exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art was the big art show of the week. Retrospectives of Victorian art appalled the critics and delighted culturally conservative critics as abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollack were bursting on the scene. (See Art for more).
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This website is not meant to be an authoritative history or a nostalgic reminiscence. It is an attempt (in progress) to recreate a moment of time through a catalog of people, places and events as seen through newspapers and magazines of the day, memoirs, novels and histories. It concentrates on the week of April 14, 1946. but strays a bit more widely to provide context. It is meant as informative entertainment rather than a scholarly treatise.
I am currently revising this site. Sections that have been revised are on the navigation sidebar. Those which are being revised are not but can be found in rough form through the sitemap.
The blogsite "A Week in New York 1946" has my ongoing research. Currently blogging on books released this week.