A tale of two cities. A term we use today but for New Yorkers during the World War II era, the city was divided in a different way by a singular date. Before that day, New York being a largely immigrant city, was locked in a debate over the war, stay neutral or fight.
That war of opinions was decisively put to an end on Dec. 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The following years would be defined with one word: sacrifice. It would consume the city and New York led the way.
New York was a dominant port city and made itself an arsenal for the allies. Every ethnicity rushed to help. New York quickly became the launching point for troops, fuel, supplies. The entire city mobilized, and the price at times, was everything.
The early seeds of equality planted as women picked up the slack as hundreds of thousands of men shipped off to war.
Even the New-York Historical Society was involved. The halls we walked through were filled with volunteers, who rolled 4 million bandages over the course of the war, shipped out and used on the war front. And Macy's canceled their trademark parade.
And being an immigrant city, the melting pot got fragile. Tensions grew as Japanese were sent to internment camps. Instead of welcoming immigrants, Ellis Island became a detention center for any Germans, Italians suspected of illegal activity.