Archive

1940

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]


New Yorker cover, August 6 and/or 13, 2018 and/or Weegee, Naked City, pp. 178-179

You’re based in London. Where did you get this vision of a beach day?”

“The spark for this idea came from a 1940 photograph by Weegee, which shows Coney Island beach completely covered with people: a whole city decamped onto the sand. In London, we have a similar thing with parks, which fill to bursting point when the hot summer weather comes.”
Tom Gauld’s “On The Beach”, By Françoise Mouly, July 30, 2018, newyorker.com

Coincidentally and irrelevantly… 75 years ago today:


PM, August 1, 1943
“Sketched on the spot, by Grant Reynard, July 1943.”


PM, November 6, 1940

The Lower East Side Watches Its Champ Win
“Thousands of the people who most love the President jammed East Broadway on the lower East Side last night to cheer his third-term victory. They are reading election bulletins flashed by the Jewish Daily Forward in this remarkable photo. Photo by Weegee
PM, November 6, 1940