PM Daily, July 28, 1941, p. 18
“East Side Fire: Landlord Weeps As Porter Burns to Death”
PM Photos by Weegee
Weegee Daily, July 28, 2013
East Side Tenement Still Stands
WD Photos by Ceegee
PM Daily, July 28, 1941, pp. 18-19
As previously mentioned, this is one of the greatest page spreads in the history of newspapers, if not the history of the printed word (or the not-oral history of the world)… One page (page 18) with six Weegee photos and the facing page (page 19) with five photos of real, honest-to-Greenwich Village poets, including the effervescent, if not immortal, Joe Gould…
A few of the other NYC newspapers, The New York Times and The New York Herald Tribune, didn’t cover this story at all. Perhaps the editors thought this story, and the tenement dwellers in the lower East Side, were not significant enough to be covered. (Or perhaps they were to busy covering the halva crisis in Turkey:-)
The Daily News covered the fire, with a single small uncredited photo and three paragraphs.
Here are a few of the ways the story appeared in different editions of The Daily News:
New York Daily News, July 28, 1941
A quick comparison:
PM Daily: “… the body of Negro superintendent, Joseph Devine, who suffocated in the basement.” “Shirley”
Daily News: “… Joseph Devine, colored janitor, was trapped in his bedroom and burned to death.” “Shirlee”
This story, more than most, shows the collaboration and symbiotic relationship between Weegee and PM. It was one of a many fires in 1941, and except for the death of Mr. Devine, unexceptional, but Weegee’s six photos that fill an entire page…
There was no other publication and no other photographer that could produce and document a story like this, with words and images…
Google Street View of 321 Houston St.
According to a popular (un)real estate website a three bedroom apartment (or, “full floor loft”) at 321 East Houston St. (built in 1930), rented for $4340, in June 2013…
July 27th was a busy day for Weegee, at around 5:30 AM, Weegee covered a fire on the Lower East Side, (only about 15 blocks from his home).
And 12 hours later, around 5 PM, a 36 inch water main break on 125th St. caused significant flooding, a fire, and traffic tie ups…
To be continued…