In the spring of 1927, Charles Lindbergh made a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. That same spring, a young Walker Evans returned to New York after more than a year studying in Paris and found himself in the midst of one of the biggest public celebrations that New York had ever seen. An estimated three to four million people turned out for the pageant to mark Lindbergh's triumphant return.
Evans titled a variant, less-cropped print of this image Waiting for parade to start / Downtown / Lindbergh Day, indicating that this image was made as band members assembled before the ticker tape and confetti parade honoring the new American hero. In anticipation of Lindbergh's triumphant ride through the streets of Manhattan, scraps of paper already litter the street. Evans's photograph presents a subdued view of the calm before the storm.