Naked City

A map of where every photo in Weegee’s book “Naked City” was made.

A map of crime scenes, fires, circuses, tenements, and townhouses… a map of people sleeping, laughing, loving, dancing, dying… crowds in Coney Island, Times Square, Lower East Side, and Harlem… A map of the inhabitants of New York City (mostly during World War Two)… A map of some of the 8 million stories, the “beauty and ugliness,” the “real,” New York City…

A map of Weegee’s “Naked City.”

“Heat Wave”; Ethel Waters; Berlin; Columbia (2826-D); 1933

Weegee, Herald Tribune, August 4, 1940

Heat-Wave Nocturne in Downtown New York

Weegee, “Naked City,” 1945

“Heat Wave”; Marilyn Monroe; 20th Century-Fox Orchestra and Chorus; Irving Berlin; RCA Victor (20-6033); 1955

“When My Baby Left Me”; Cootie Williams and his Orchestra; Williams; Vinson; Eddie Vinson; Capitol (266); Publication date: July 19, 1945

The New York Post, July 19, p. 19


By John Adam Knight

Worth Anyone’s $4
[$4 in July 1945 had the same buying power as $65.48 in June 2022.]

All of this is background for a brief review of a fine new picture book, Weegee’s “Naked City” (Essential Books, 243 pp., $4). This is Weegee at his former best, which means virtually unequaled. Most of these pictures were made before the Museum of Modern Art’s kiss of death took effect, and the purchaser need have little fear of being stuck with serious “art.”

What he will get for his $4 is a collection of grauvre reproductions of about 200 stark almost primitive photographs of death, despair and degeneracy in New York between midnight and morning. Though technically poor photographs, almost every one of them tells a gripping, human story, one of the best reasons I know for the invention of the camera.

The paper shortage denies me the pleasure of describing dozens of these pictures individually. I have space only to urge every one interested to buy the book and learn the lesson that Weegee once knew that honesty, a genuine interest in people – all people – and a recognition of what constitutes human interest in pictures can make any of you nearly as great as Weegee once was.

The New York Post, July 19, p. 19

“Echoes Of Harlem”; Cootie Williams And His Orchestra; Cootie Williams; Duke Ellington; Capitol (266); Publication date: July 19, 1945

“Don’t Worry ‘Bout That Mule”; Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five; Louis Jordan; C. Stewart; W. Davis; D. Groaner; F. Moore; Decca (18734 A); Publication date: July 18, 1945

PM, July 18, 1945

Rave Notice

There’s a new book in the stores today by Weegee, who bills himself as “the famous” – and is…

PM, July 18, 1945

Weegee, Naked City, 1945

77 years ago today…

Happy “Naked City” Day!

“Buzz Me”; Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five; Louis Jordan; F. Moore; D. Baxter; Decca (18734 B); Publication date: July 18, 1945

“Yesterdays”; Kathryn Meisle; Harry Sosnik; Jerome Kern; Otto Harbach; Decca (DA 23572 A); Publication date: May 7, 1944

PM, May 7, 1944, p.32

Weegee meets a great man.

Weegee brought in a photograph of an old man sitting on a cot, his hands in his lap. Weegee is the cigar-smoking, crime, fire, and seamy-side-of-life photographer who lives across the street from police headquarters and does his best work from midnight on.

“This is Stieglitz, Alfred Stieglitz,” said Weegee. “He’s a great photographer…”

Stieglitz invited Weegee to his gallery. But first they stopped at a druggist’s, where the aged photographer left a prescription. Then they walked up to 509 Madison Ave. and took an elevator to the 17th floor…

Stieglitz pointed to a phone near his cot. It never rings, he said. I have been deserted…

He was a failure, he told me…

…and he never used the products of Eastman Kodak because of their slogan You push a button. We’ll do the rest.

…And I left quietly and shut the the glass door with the words painted on it, AN AMERICAN PLACE.

“It doesn’t seem right that such a great artist should have such a little reward,” said Weegee.

PM, May 7, 1944

“The Touch of Your Hand”; Kitty Carlisle; Alfred Drake; Kathryn Meisle; Harry Sosnik; Jerome Kern; Otto Harbach; Decca (DA 23574 A); Publication date: May 7, 1944

Weegee, Naked City, 1945

“Lovely to Look at”; Kitty Carlisle and Alfred Drake; Harry Sosnik; Jerome Kern; Dorothy Fields; Jimmy McHugh; Decca (DA 23572 B); Publication date: May 7, 1944

“Big City Blues”; Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris and His All-Stars; Wynonie; Harris; Aladdin (196B); 1947


(copied from youtube)

File under: Current Events: Movies

Here are some interesting facts about the New York City population:

With a July 2015 population of 8,550,405, New York is the most populous city in the United States, more than twice the size of the second largest city, Los Angeles.
About 1 in every 38 people living in the United States resides in New York City.
New York has the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with over 27,000 people per square mile.
Over 3 million of New York City’s residents are foreign-born; over one-quarter arrived in 2000 or later.
Nearly 2 million New Yorkers are under the age of 18.
New York City has more people than 40 of the 50 U.S. states.
New York City has grown by over 1 million people since 1990.
The 2014 median age in New York City was 35.8 years, almost two years lower than the national median of 37.7 years.
Over one-third of the population 25 and over in New York City has a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30 percent nationally.
There are nearly 400,000 more women than men in New York.
There is a birth in New York City every 4.4 minutes.
There is a death in New York City every 9.1 minutes.
The borough of Brooklyn on its own would be the 4th largest city in the United States; Queens would also rank 4th nationally.
The average commute for New Yorkers is just over 40 minutes, about 14 minutes longer than the national average.
New York City has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia.
Half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home.
Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City.

“Shorty George”; Count Basie And His Orchestra; Count Basie; Brunswick (80134); Publication date: February 16, 1938

Weegee, Naked City, 1945, pp. 148-149

Shorty, the Bowery cherub, welcomed the New Year… Sophisticated Lady

“So Long, Shorty”; Erskine Hawkins (The Twentieth Century Gabriel) and his Orchestra; Ida James; Wilbur “Shorty” Bascomb; Livingston; Symes; Neiburg; Bluebird (B-11485-B); 1941

Barth, Miles, Weegee’s World, New York: Bullfinch Press, 1997, p.139

Shorty, the Bowery Cherub, New Years Eve at Sammy’s Bar, 1943

“So Long, Shorty (You’ve Got a Long Way to Go)”; Una Mae Carlisle; Barney Young; Bluebird (B-11507-B); Publication date: February 13, 1942

Weegee, Naked City, 1945, p. 148

Shorty, the Bowery cherub, welcomed the New Year…

“Shorty’s Got to Go”; Bill Johnson and his Musical Notes; Bill Johnson; Lucky Millinder; RCA Victor (20-2225-B); 1947

Weegee, Naked City, Cincinnati, Ohio: Zebra Picture Books, 1948

Shorty, the Bowery cherub, welcomes the New Year…

“Shorty George Blues”; Sippie Wallace; Eddie Heywood; Geo. W. Thomas; H. Thomas; Okeh (8106-A); Publication date: October 26, 1923