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be the last: no one can prophesy the future of these curious by-prodcuts of the post-War age if and when prohibition is repealed.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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July 9, 2013

Collector’s Weekly has a great book review of Robin Nagle’s book, “Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City” — and some nice vintage-trash-strewn photos to accompany it.

Nagle tells Collector’s Weekly:

In its early days, the [sanitation] department didn’t really function at all. There are some photographs taken for Harper’s Weekly, before and after photos of street corners in New York in 1893 and then in 1895. And the before pictures are pretty astonishing, people were literally shin-high or knee-high in this muck that was a combination of street gunk, horse urine and manure, dead animals, food waste, and furniture crap.


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May 13, 2013

The Museum of the City of New York has released a ton of photos of the Manhattan Railway Company, which operated the city’s elevated railway lines at the turn of the 20th century. Squeee!

h/t @Gothamist


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April 25, 2013
The Woolsworth Building turned 100 yesterday

The Woolsworth Building turned 100 yesterday

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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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March 7, 2013
Ernest Hemingway and model Jean Patchett, sitting on a sofa in Hemingway’s farmhouse in Cuba. Photo taken by Clifford Coffin, Nov. 15, 1950, for Vogue Magazine. I love this photo.

Coffin’s photo is in a book I picked up from the Strand the other night: Vogue: The Editor’s Eye. I’ve vowed not to buy any more (physical) books and I have enough photo books besides, but I liked the book’s focus on the influence of editors, though it doesn’t show much of the process. Mostly, there’s just a bunch of interesting photos, like Ernest Hemingway shirtless and petting a cat.

Ernest Hemingway and model Jean Patchett, sitting on a sofa in Hemingway’s farmhouse in Cuba. Photo taken by Clifford Coffin, Nov. 15, 1950, for Vogue Magazine. I love this photo.

Coffin’s photo is in a book I picked up from the Strand the other night: Vogue: The Editor’s Eye. I’ve vowed not to buy any more (physical) books and I have enough photo books besides, but I liked the book’s focus on the influence of editors, though it doesn’t show much of the process. Mostly, there’s just a bunch of interesting photos, like Ernest Hemingway shirtless and petting a cat.

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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

A couple more photos that the Bowery Boys blog posted in its remembrance of the deadly blizzard of 1888 that struck New York 125 years ago. Check out the post for more fascinating info while waiting for Nemo’s wrath.


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February 4, 2013
This is a black-and-white version of a Times Square photo I took a few weeks ago. You can see the original here. The color of Times Square’s lights are usually interesting, but I love the way the black-and-white rendition really emphasizes the magnitude of the powered billboards in contrast to everything else in the scene.

This is a black-and-white version of a Times Square photo I took a few weeks ago. You can see the original here. The color of Times Square’s lights are usually interesting, but I love the way the black-and-white rendition really emphasizes the magnitude of the powered billboards in contrast to everything else in the scene.

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January 21, 2013
Radio City Line & Fifth Avenue Crowds, as taken by Yale Joel for LIFE in 1961

Radio City Line & Fifth Avenue Crowds, as taken by Yale Joel for LIFE in 1961

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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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December 13, 2012
NYC Dim out, Times Square, April 1942. By William C. Shrout for Time LIFE

NYC Dim out, Times Square, April 1942. By William C. Shrout for Time LIFE

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