1940_12_26_p15-3
PM, December 26, 1940, p15

Weegee Covers Christmas in New York… In Pictures and Words…

By Weegee

Early Christmas Eve I received a phone call from Wesley Price, one of PM’s picture editors. Price told me he wanted a good holiday picture, something with plenty of OOMPH. Lots of Christmas spirit in it. in other words a masterpiece. Jokingly I replied you just couldn’t order a picture like that, like you would a box of cigars. It had to happen. However, I asked him if he had any suggestions. He suggested that I get the picture in for the first edition.

I left police headquarters in my car at 2:30 Christmas morning. I turned the two radios on. One the regular broadcast receiver, to get some holiday music to put me in the mood; and the other radio, a police short wave receiver to get the police signals so I would know what was going on.

The first police call I picked up was for West and Bank Sts. When I got there I found a car with a Jersey license, turned on its side, with a cop on top of it. Nobody seemed to be hurt. Soon a towing wagon arrived to take the car away. I made a shot of it and was on my way.

Then I picked up six fire alarm signals. They were all false. I didn’t think Santa did that.

Then I stopped at the All Night Mission at No. 8 Bowery. [Not the still extant Bowery Mission.] Every night in the year about 100 hopelessly beaten and homeless men sit on benches and sleep as best they can.

Except for a Christmas tree in front, everything was the same. The same despair and hopelessness. I tiptoed in at 4 in the morning, being careful not to disturb anyone. Everyone was asleep. The place was as usual playing to “Sitting up” only. The same electric sign was lit with the illuminated big letters, JESUS SEES, the only source of light in the place. I wondered if He approved…

On the way out, along a big stove near the door, I noticed a pair of stockings, turned inside out, hung to dry.

Next I picked up a police alarm for 102nd St. and Lexington Ave. When I got there I found a man had been stabbed to death and was lying on the corner. From the St. John’s Episcopal Church, on the opposite corner, came the sound of organ music and the singing of the Christmas worshipers. I made a shot of the scene and started back to police headquarters.

When I arrived at my home, in back of Police Headquarters, I found a package wrapped in fancy paper outside my door. It was a present from my Chinese laundry man, Willie Chu, of 95 Elizabeth St. It contained a pound of tea and a half pound of lichee nuts. I had been looking for the Christmas spirit all night long. And had found it, on my doorstep. Lichee NUTS to you, Santa Claus…

weegee-12-26-1940-map
Weegee’s Christmas day journey (on a Google Map), might look like this.

A soon-to-be classic New York City Christmas story…


PM, December 26, 1940, p15


The New York Times, October 18, 1948


5500 New Yorkers Will Spend Christmas Like This… … Sleeping in Flophouses, Eating in City Dining Halls (PM Sketches by Willard Arnold)
[Palace Hotel, 315 Bowery… formerly, CBGBs, etc.]


There’s No Christmas Truce in Labor’s War with Ford… (Photo by Alan Fisher)
The Levines (Who Own This Building) Came From Podolsk to Orchard St. (Photos by ?)


They Have a 4-Room Apartment Full of Things They Admire… … But They Spend Nearly All Their Time at the Store (Photos by ?)
PM, December 24, 1940, pp. 16-21


[141 Orchard St., 2017]

The Best Art Books of 2018
The Times’s art critics select some of their favorite art books and books related to art of the year.

by Roberta Smith
‘FLASH: THE MAKING OF WEEGEE THE FAMOUS’ By Christopher Bonanos (Henry Holt & Company). By current standards, the street photographer Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, might be considered a kind of performance artist: elbowing his way to the front of the more sensational scenes of New York night life, snapping pictures in his indelible noir style and developing them in the trunk of his car — so as to rush his product to the dailies ahead of the pack. His ambition, self-invention and neuroses are all detailed in this sharp biography by Mr. Bonanos, who clearly admires the artist, sees the unsavory aspects of the man and knows old New York as well as anyone too young to have lived through it. (Read the book review.)
NY Times, Dec. 14, 2018, p.C20″

The Office of Civilian Defense announces the following instructions to be carried out “When an air raid comes.”

Approaches to New York Harbor Mined by Navy.

New York Has Skyscrapers for Air Raid Shelters
Simple Safety Rules will Save Lives When the Bombers Come…”

Simple Rules Show How to Make a Home Safer in Raids

Blackout Curtains Will Hinder Night Bomb Raiding

What Are Bombs Like? Here Are Some of the Answers“.

PM, December 11, 1941

(For the first time ever, we present possibly useful information…)


PM, December 10, 1941
New York Has Its First Air-Raid Alarms, But the Enemy Fails to Make Appearance
A million schoolchildren were evacuated from their classrooms yesterday as New York had two air-raid alarms – the first of the war. These pupils at PS 23 on Hester Street looked on the whole procedure as a kind of game. The alarm found most New Yorkers calm, but left then puzzled as to what it was all about. There is one theory that somebody mistook American planes for the enemy; another holds that it was a staged dress rehearsal. The Army denied the latter theory. Whatever the cause, we needed the practice. PM Photo by Weegee