With thousands scurrying from the tar-covered streets of New York to escape the intense heat yesterday, the usual July 4 celebrations were somewhat lacking in fervor and enthusiasm.
The exodus from the city started early in the morning. Every means of transportation to seashores and parks were crowded with humanity. Down in the East Side, however, celebrations were noisy and numerous.
American flags of every dimension, from the button-hole size to the huge mast flag, were predominant throughout the streets of the East Side. One pushcart peddler, selling fruit and pretzels, demonstrated his patriotism by displaying both American and Hebrew flags.
In contrast to the furor caused by the explosions of the firecrackers, ranging from little “red devils” to big “four-inchers,” was the restful peacefulness at the Chatham Square cemetery, where repose the remains of fourteen Jewish Revolutionary War patriots.
A dazzling sun shining on the full-bloom green ferns in the cemetery made a pleasant scene in the midst of the sordidness characteristic of Chatham Sq. Flags and wreaths, placed there recently by the Jewish war veterans, were still at the sides of the graves. One lone old man, smoking a pipe, guarded the gate.
People came intermittently to the cemetery to pay their respects to the heroes. Solomon M. Cohen, Jacob Hart, David Hays, Benjamin Jacobs, Eleazer Levy, Hayman Levy, Isaac Moses, Myer Myers, Simon Nathan, Manuel Noah, Jonas Phillips, Abraham R. Rivera, Benjamin Mendes Seixas and Gershon Mendes Seixas are the heroes buried in this old graveyard.
Back on the East Side celebrations were going on apace. Kind-hearted firemen opened street hydrants and gushing streams of icy water played on happy, screaming children, who dressed themselves in their bathing suits and sat in front of the hydrants.
Streets resounded to the abrupt explosions of fire-crackers. A “four-incher” would be shot off, and soon a loud reply would come back from another explosion.
During the evening and night flashing Roman candles soared up to the clouds from crowded roof tops. Shouts of glee filled the streets.
In Seward Park groups congregated all day, discussing everything from the Declaration of Independence to the present situation in Germany. Differences between American justice and liberty as laid down with the Declaration and the present justice, or rather lack of justice, in Germany, was stressed by the East Siders.