“The Lower East Side Watches Its Champ Win”

PM, November 6, 1940, p. 1

PM, November 6, 1940, p. 16-17

They Also Served Who Only Stood and Gaped
The hub of the universe – or at least, the hub of New York’s voting was – Times Square last night, and early today. Thousands of extra cops were on duty… Many thousands of citizens were on deck… They had voted… They now waited for the final score… Mr. and Mrs. America watched and waited… And this is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. America at midnight.

Horns, buttons and headlines-while-you-wait. Photo by Bill Brunk, PM Staff.
The song had ended but the melody lingered on – for a while… Photo by Leo Lieb, PM Staff.
Figure it out from their faces: Who’d they vote for? Photo by Gene Badger, PM Staff.

The most intriguing triangle in the world – Times Square – bulged last night and early today as America waited for the answer. This is no cross-section – this is the crowd! Photo by Wide World.

PM, November 6, 1940, p. 18

The Lower East Side Watches Its Champ Win
Thousands of the people who most love the President jammed East Broadway on the lower East Side last night to cheer his third-term victory. They are reading election bulletins flashed by the Jewish Daily Forward in this remarkable photo. Photo by Weegee.

Weegee (1899-1968), [Crowd watching election bulletins, New York], 1940 (16288.1993)

Weegee, “Weegee’s People,” 1946

Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated Republican Wendell Willkie in November 1940 to win his third term as President of the United States. At 11:40 AM, Wednesday, November 6th, Willkie, at his Hotel Commodore headquarters, conceded the election to President Roosevelt: “I accept the result of the election with complete good will.” Roosevelt won the popular vote by approximately 5 million votes and the electoral vote was 449 to 82. FDR won New York state’s 47 electoral votes because of New York City. Queens and Staten Island voted for Willkie. The other boroughs voted for FDR by almost 2 to 1. (PM, November 6, 1940, p. 5). Many New Yorkers vigorously celebrated FDR’s victory. Times Square, a triangle in midtown, was the epicenter of the photogenic exuberance with an estimated crowd of 750,000. PM‘s staff photographers covered the jubilation thoroughly, mostly in mid-and-uptown. Weegee, working downtown, photographed a cheerful and youthful post-election crowd gathered in and around Straus Square on the Lower East Side. (Straus Square is named after Nathan Straus, 1848-1931. The Straus family emigrated from Bavaria to Georgia in the 1850s, then moved to New York after the Civil War, were very successful business people. They owned the largest department store, Macy’s in Herald Square. After the death of his wife and brother on the “S.S. Titanic in 1912, Nathan retired from business and devoted himself to family, charity, and public service,” including advocating for the pasteurization of milk.) Straus Square, a triangle downtown, with borders on East Broadway, Rutgers Street, Seward Park, and the beginning and end of Essex Street. The people in Weegee’s photo are enjoying the election bulletins projected by the Jewish Daily Forward; the Forward building is nearby at 173-175 East Broadway. These are Weegee’s people. The Communist candidate, Earl Browder, didn’t vote in the 1940 presidential elections. At the end of Willkie’s campaign it was reported that he said “United we stand. Divided we fall. Let us again be a nation united.” One day and thirteen months later the United States entered World War Two.

PM, November 6, 1940, p. 5

This is the way Harlem took it. There weren’t many GOP votes up that way and those broad smiles just about sum up Harlem’s glee over the re-elction of FDR. Photo by Ray Platnick, PM Staff.

PM, November 6, 1940, p. 18

Ina Ray Hutton, [Odessa Cowan, 1916–1984] woman orchestra leader, was for FDR.”

PM, November 6, 1940, p. 18

“This sort of thing went on all night. Photo by Leo Lieb, PM Staff

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