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Amid a crippling depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt was seen not just as a
“new deal” for the nation but also a fresh start. The New York governor was
elected president in November 1932, and took the oath of offi ce on March
4, 1933, famously uttering in his inaugural address that “the only thing we
have to fear is fear itself.” The Ridgewood Times celebrated FDR on the
front cover of its March 3, 1933 issue, and included an article about local
Ridgewood residents traveling to Washington, DC to witness his inaugural.
The site of present-day Flushing Meadows Corona Park played host to the
1939-40 World’s Fair, an exposition showcasing global culture, technological
advances and a glimpse into a futuristic society. Ridgewood, as it
turned out, had its own day at the Fair just a few weeks after it opened.
The Ridgewood Times celebrated “Ridgewood Day at the World’s Fair”
with a special supplement published on April 28, 1939 and featuring the
silhouettes of the Trylon and Perisphere, the fair’s centerpieces.
After years of questioning whether the United States should end its neutrality
amid the Second World War, the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7,
1941 ended all debate, and plunged the nation into war against Japan and
Nazi Germany. The front page of the Dec. 12, 1941 Ridgewood Times made
clear how residents felt: “Ridgewood Backs President” Franklin D. Roosevelt
and his leadership of the American armed forces into battle. Near the center
of the front page is a rather unsettling guide about what residents should do
in the event of an air raid, should German bombers attack the area.
“Who are the men who come to you for your vote?” That was the question
the Ridgewood Times posed to its readers in a front page editorial prior
to the 1919 election. Readers were advised to “let conscience rather than
party dictate your choice” and to “study their qualifi cations well before you
select from the candidates who seek your vote Election Day.” The inquiry and
advice, now 99 years old, is as fi tting now as it was then — except we would
ask today, “Who are the men and women who come to you for your vote?”