Electronic Christmas Greetings

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First Christmas at Rockefeller Center, 2011

The 1930s was an era punctuated by the great depression, but monumental in its social, architectural and artistic achievements. Rachmaninoff coincided with Fats Wahler, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and the Delta Blues music of Robert Johnson. Landmark films included Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the“Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind,” and the Art Deco movement flourished internationally.

The Harlem Renaissance gave voice to the art, poetry, prose and music of AfricanAmericans and Gershwin created his landmark opera “Porgy and Bess” redefining how America viewed black culture.

In New York City, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center were all completed in the early 30s while the Public Works Art Project and theWPA employed more than 5,000 artists choosing themes based on American life and culture. Jesse Owens, an African American, won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics, embarrassing Hitler’s claim of Aryan elitism, and the Hindenburg burst into flames in front of the world while attempting to dock following its trip across the Atlantic to New York City. Rogers and Hart had seven hits on Broadway that decade…producing song standards such as “The Lady is a Tramp,” “The Most beautiful Girl in the World,” “Where and When,” and “My Funny Valentine,” while Steinbeck focused on the lives of sharecroppers and the poor in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Not as spirited as the 20s, nor as heroic as the 40s, the 1930s was distinguished by challenges to our image of ourselves as Americans that created a pathway to the decades of achievement that followed us throughout the 20th century,

Christmas Eve of 1931 was not an especially happy
time in New York City. The Great Depression was at
its height. One-third of the manufacturing companies
in the city had closed.
The legions of construction workers building
Rockefeller Center were an exception.
As the twelve buildings that would comprise the
Center slowly took shape, a scraggily balsam fir still
managed to hold out, rooted in the rock at the
eastern portion of the central lot near the booth
where the men collected their paychecks.
On December 24, workmen light-heartedly strung
cranberries and paper garlands on the tree and hung a
few tin cans from its branches.
The Center was never without a tree after that.



May your Holidays “Rock!”
George Rothacker, 2011