December 5, 2013

Eighty years ago today, Prohibition ended. Time Inc. commemorates the occasion by revisiting its photos of speakeasies in the 1930s. The photos are a little more restrained and genteel than what I imagined speakeasies would be…they kind of look like modern day New York Sunday brunch, except with dressed-up people.

I love the originally-published intro to the photo essay (the photos were shot by Margaret Bourke-White), which describes why New York is way better than San Francisco and Chicago:

The speakeasy [FORTUNE told its readers, betraying a fair bit of patrician hauteur] has flowered successfully only in New York. In San Francisco it is dull and obscure; in Chicago, tough and noisy; in the South almost nonexistent. In most cities, drinking, like eating, is done at home or in the country club. In New York alone has the speakeasy become the instrument of a civilized social life, something between a pre-prohibition restaurant and a coeducational club. There are, therfore, in New York, speakeasies for every taste and purse… . The pictures on these pages present a fair cross-section of the reputable ones. They are probably the first pictures ever taken of speakeasies in action. They may be the last: no one can prophesy the future of these curious by-prodcuts of the post-War age if and when prohibition is repealed. If they survive it will be as restaurants with bars; locked doors will no longer spice the drinks. It is for a future that will want to know how New Yorkers of the ’20s lived that FORTUNE presents this portfolio of Margarte Bourke-White’s pictures.

Read more: Prohibition: Scenes From the Speakeasies of New York in 1933 | LIFE.com

(Source: (http)


Margaret Bourke-White— Caption from FORTUNE: "At luncheon half a dozen dogs feed amicably at their mistresses' side. This bar is chromium, rose and black."

Margaret Bourke-White—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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August 24, 2013
Madison Square and the Flatiron Building, by W.W. Rock, 1918.

h/t @BeschlossDC

Madison Square and the Flatiron Building, by W.W. Rock, 1918.

h/t @BeschlossDC

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March 12, 2013
1899 - Fifth Avenue at night, looking north from 44th St. The artist is Charles W Jefferys, This illustration comes courtesy of the New York Public Library’s amazing digital archive.

1899 - Fifth Avenue at night, looking north from 44th St. The artist is Charles W Jefferys, This illustration comes courtesy of the New York Public Library’s amazing digital archive.

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February 11, 2013
Apparently, it’s always been hard to find a cab during New York blizzards.

1893 ‘Winter on Fifth Avenue’ - Alfred Stieglitz, via retronaut

Apparently, it’s always been hard to find a cab during New York blizzards.

1893 ‘Winter on Fifth Avenue’ - Alfred Stieglitz, via retronaut

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February 8, 2013
The Bowery Boys blog has a great timely post about “the deadliest commute in history”, from when the blizzard of 1888 struck New York City. Be safe everyone!

(The illustration is from Leslie’s Illustrated, March 24, 1888, depicting “THE TERRIBLE FORCE OF THE BLIZZARD”)

The Bowery Boys blog has a great timely post about “the deadliest commute in history”, from when the blizzard of 1888 struck New York City. Be safe everyone!

(The illustration is from Leslie’s Illustrated, March 24, 1888, depicting “THE TERRIBLE FORCE OF THE BLIZZARD”)

(Source: books.google.com)

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Filed under: NYC Nemo Blizzard others history archives 
January 3, 2013
Manhattan’s skyline, 1880 to 1932.

This amazing series of photos was featured in TIME Magazine’s LIFE Aug 31, 1942 issue, “New York’s Skyline Sits for a Long Portrait.” The photos come from two amateurs of the Pierrepont family: John Jay Pierrepont, “a wealthy New Yorker”, was inspired from his Brooklyn rooftop view and took hundreds of photos from the vantage point until his death in 1923. His great-nephew, Abbot Low Moffat, continued the tradition until the Pierrepont home was bought by the city of New York to turn into a public park.

When Pierrepont took the first photos in 1880, church steeples and ship masts are the tallest structures, with the most recognizable landmark being Trinity Church on lower Broadway. By 1930, the lower Manhattan skyline was dominated by towers after the building boom.

Read the original article at Google Archives.

Manhattan’s skyline, 1880 to 1932.

This amazing series of photos was featured in TIME Magazine’s LIFE Aug 31, 1942 issue, “New York’s Skyline Sits for a Long Portrait.” The photos come from two amateurs of the Pierrepont family: John Jay Pierrepont, “a wealthy New Yorker”, was inspired from his Brooklyn rooftop view and took hundreds of photos from the vantage point until his death in 1923. His great-nephew, Abbot Low Moffat, continued the tradition until the Pierrepont home was bought by the city of New York to turn into a public park.

When Pierrepont took the first photos in 1880, church steeples and ship masts are the tallest structures, with the most recognizable landmark being Trinity Church on lower Broadway. By 1930, the lower Manhattan skyline was dominated by towers after the building boom.

Read the original article at Google Archives.

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December 27, 2012
From the Library of Congress: Night lights of Manhattan; Night view past tug on river to series of dots forming the night lights of Manhattan, outline of buildings barely visible against dark background. Drawing on black paper. Artist: Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926

From the Library of Congress: Night lights of Manhattan; Night view past tug on river to series of dots forming the night lights of Manhattan, outline of buildings barely visible against dark background. Drawing on black paper. Artist: Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926

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December 20, 2012

Bridge construction photos from the TIME LIFE magazine archives.


George Washington Bridge under construction, 1927

Queensboro Bridge under construction, 1907

Manhattan Bridge under construction. 1907

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November 26, 2012
Check out this feature from LIFE Magazine back when the U.N. Secretariat building was constructed. The caption/deck reads: “Windows of late-working secretary-general’s office look west over city 38th floor”. Via the Google LIFE archive, Mar 26, 1951.

Check out this feature from LIFE Magazine back when the U.N. Secretariat building was constructed. The caption/deck reads: “Windows of late-working secretary-general’s office look west over city 38th floor”. Via the Google LIFE archive, Mar 26, 1951.

November 15, 2012
How New Yorkers on Fifth Avenue handled the snow, in 1905. Via the @NYPL’s endlessly fascinating digital archive. 

Photo credit to: Detroit Photographic Co.

How New Yorkers on Fifth Avenue handled the snow, in 1905. Via the @NYPL’s endlessly fascinating digital archive.

Photo credit to: Detroit Photographic Co.

November 14, 2012
Times Square apparently was quite pleasant, circa sometime in the 1910s, as depicted on this postcard. Part of the New York Public Library’s awesome searchable digital archive of hundreds of thousands of documents and images.

Times Square apparently was quite pleasant, circa sometime in the 1910s, as depicted on this postcard. Part of the New York Public Library’s awesome searchable digital archive of hundreds of thousands of documents and images.

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November 5, 2012
"The Dark Lane of the Bowery" via LIFE magazine (archived by Google Books), Apr. 14, 1941. Photos by Andreas Feininger.

"The Dark Lane of the Bowery" via LIFE magazine (archived by Google Books), Apr. 14, 1941. Photos by Andreas Feininger.

October 22, 2012
It’s so…empty: Manhattan’s skyline on March 26, 1936. One of the 800,000 digital files in the New York Public Library’s free searchable archive.

Photo by Berenice Abbott.

It’s so…empty: Manhattan’s skyline on March 26, 1936. One of the 800,000 digital files in the New York Public Library’s free searchable archive.

Photo by Berenice Abbott.

October 18, 2012
Visitors at the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens visit “the City of Tomorrow”. Photograph by David E. Scherman for LIFE. Via the LIFE image archive at Google. Also, check out the LIFE tumblr for other amazing images from their iconic archive.

Visitors at the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens visit “the City of Tomorrow”. Photograph by David E. Scherman for LIFE. Via the LIFE image archive at Google. Also, check out the LIFE tumblr for other amazing images from their iconic archive.

October 11, 2012
May Day Parade in Union Square, 1913. via Library of Congress and Bain News Service.

May Day Parade in Union Square, 1913. via Library of Congress and Bain News Service.