You always read that something is the “best flash mob ever,” and many really do seem to live up to that billing. Orchestras play beautiful music, dancers swirl across the floor, and people break into song as if they’re living in a 1930s Hollywood musical.
This particular flash mob, however, is truly the best one ever. Not only is the performance delightful on its own terms, but its context raises it to amazing new heights of flash mob-ness.
To enjoy it fully, think about these facts before you start watching:
In 1893, five-year-old Israel Isidore Beilin and his family arrived in New York, having escaped the terrible anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia. After surviving (and, indeed, thriving in) a childhood of extreme poverty in New York’s Lower East Side, he grew up to become Irving Berlin, one of the most successful songwriters of all time. He was also a man who never lost his sense of gratitude for the wonders of his adopted country, a sentiment he expressed perfectly in “God Bless America.” He wrote other songs celebrating American life, everything from Easter, to white Christmases, to the wonders of New Yorkers “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (written in 1929, right before the Roaring 20s came to a whimpering end).
In 1917, the Soviets took over Russia, and settled in for a seventy year totalitarian run. America was the enemy and American culture a dangerous weapon that had to be banned from the Soviet Union at all costs.
And then, in February 2012, a young couple got married on a cold day in Moscow and their friends put on a most amazing show for them. Enjoy the show, and don’t forget the history as you watch it.