Hobos and Tramps


In April of 1939 the New York World's Fair, "Building The World of Tomorrow," opened on what was once a marshy wasteland in Flushing Meadows, just east of the great metropolis. From its inception to its closing ceremonies, the Fair promoted one of the last great metanarratives of the Machine Age: the unqualified belief in science and technology as a means to economic prosperity and personal freedom. Wedged between the greatest economic disaster in America and the growing international tension that would result in World War II, The World of Tomorrow was a much-needed antidote to the depression and confusion of the times. It provided the one saving grace which all of America needed - it provided hope. 1939 site

The fair of 1939 provides the last great backdrop against which we might look at the history of the hobo. While visitors to Flushing Meadows witnessed utopian cities and space needles, the GE corporation building, showcases for corporations advertising products rather than countries promoting 'culture', sealing perhaps the s