At a recent estate sale on the south side of Chicago, Jeff Altman spotted a canister of film simply labeled “Chicago” and “Print 1.” That tidbit of information was intriguing enough for Altman to drop $40 on the print.
Altman, who works in film post-production, took two weeks to inspect and fix minor issues before scanning and turning it into a digital video.
The result is this short film, a marvelous and thorough overview of 1940s Chicago, when the Wrigley and Tribune Towers were still considered modern landmarks.
From The Atlantic Photo. An amazing series of photos from the 1940s.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, a 10-year old Maryland boy named Rafi and his 6-year old sister, Dvora, walked home by themselves from a playground about a mile away from their suburban house. They made it about halfway home when the police picked them up. You’ve heard these stories before, about what happens when kids in paranoid, hyperprotective America go to and from playgrounds alone. I bet you can guess the sequence of events preceding and after: Someone saw the kids walking without an adult and called the police. The police tracked down the kids and drove them home. The hitch this time is, when the police got there, they discovered that they were meddling with the wrong family.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv explicitly ally themselves with the “free range” parenting movement, which believes that children have to take calculated risks in order to learn to be self-reliant. Their kids usually even carry a card that says: “I am not lost. I am a free-range kid,” although they didn’t happen to have it that day. They had carefully prepared their kids for that walk, letting them go first just around the block, then to a library a little farther away, and then the full mile. When the police came to the door, they did not present as hassled overworked parents who leave their children alone at a playground by necessity, or laissez-faire parents who let their children roam wherever, but as an ideological counterpoint to all that’s wrong with child-rearing in America today. If we are lucky, the Meitivs will end up on every morning talk show and help convince American parents that it’s perfectly OK to let children walk without an adult to the neighborhood playground.
Perhaps if they had been black and lived in South Carolina, they would have been arrested like Debra Harrell, the single mother who let her daughter go to the playground while she was working at McDonald’s. As white suburban professionals, the Meitivs experienced a lower level of intrusion, but still one that would make any parent bristle. The police asked for the father’s ID, and when he refused, called six patrol cars as backup. Alexander went upstairs, and the police called out that if he came down with anything else in his hand “shots would be fired,” according to Alexander. (They said this in front of the children, Alexander says.) Soon after, a representative from Montgomery County Child Welfare Services came by and required that the couple sign a “safety plan” promising not to let the children go unsupervised until the following week, when another CPS worker would talk to them. At first, the dad refused, but then the workers told him they would take the kids away if he did not sign.
When we lived in Calgary, I walked a mile from where lived in Deer Ridge Estates to my elementary school. I walked home for lunch, watched the Buck Shot Show and then walked back to school. At the end of the day we walked home again, always avoiding the Catholic school whose crossing guard picked on us.
No one thought that was wrong. The lawyer who lived behind us. The vet on the corner. The cop on our street. Walking a mile was normal. We walked around a mile to get the crappy mall. We walked a mile to play at our school’s park. We went about two miles to the convenience store so we could get hockey cards and those crappy hockey sticker books.
When I was ten, we used to take the LRT from Anderson Station downtown and back. We used to roam downtown Calgary. We had those Kangaroo shoes with pockets that held a quarter in case we needed to phone home.
The fact that kids these days can’t do what those same cops and child welfare workers did as children shows how much of a nanny state that cities are becoming.
Of course as The Atlantic points out, there is an alternative.
In fashioning a campaign dominated by locals, the committee also hammered in another cornerstone: opposition to the Olympics is seen as a display of insufficient civic pride. Even elected officials who harbor deep misgivings about the Games — due to its expected cost, security risks, or potential for embarrassing mismanagement — say privately that they keep their fears quiet so as not to trigger any backlash.
One state lawmaker likened criticism of the Olympic plan to speaking in favor of an enemy nation during a time of war, saying it seemed “unpatriotic.”
Just as adroitly, the Olympic organizers resisted the outcry from the disclosure and anti-secret-government crowd to release even a morsel of their formal planning before the US Olympic Committee decided on Boston. This provided a tactical edge, because there were no specific projects to oppose or price tags about which to kvetch. Potential critics had nothing at which to shoot. That ends next week when the bid documents become public, and 2024 organizers present their early thinking under a bright media glare in a public meeting.
And I guess politicians who only care about their own political self-interests. I thought Boston reminded me of Saskatoon.
7,500 feet is higher than most helicopters can fly and even higher than approaching jet traffic to New York City flies.
Make sure you click on the images to see all of the full sized shots. They are amazing on so many levels. You can find the entire series of Laforet’s website.