Naked City

“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

“Sherry Lynn Flip,” by Slam Stewart Trio; Errol Garner; Stewart; Harold West; Publication date: September 7, 1945

Daily Argus, September 7, 1945

…”Naked City,” by Arthur Fellig, is a collection of satiric photographs, showing a cross-section of life in New York…”

“…held on display for one week at the Public Library so that readers may have an opportunity to examine them before they are circulated.”
Daily Argus, September 7, 1945, p.4

“Blue, Brown, and Beige,” by Slam Stewart Trio; Errol Garner; Stewart; Harold West; Publication date: September 7, 1945

“Don’t Worry ‘Bout That Mule”; Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five; Louis Jordan; C. Stewart; W. Davis; D. Groaner; F. Moore; July 18, 1945

PM, July 18, 1945

From the Editor

Rave Notice

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

It’s a book of pictures – pictures such as you’ve never seen before, except maybe in PM. it is called Naked City, published by Essential Books, sells for $4 – and is worth it…

“Buzz Me,” Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five; Louis Jordan; F. Moore; D. Baxter; July 18, 1945

PM, July 18, 1941

Wrong Number: At least that’s the expression on Rainbow’s face…

“Wrong Number”; Red River Dave; McEnery; The Texas Tophands; 1949

Uncle Moses, p. 125

Uncle Moses, p. 134

Uncle Moses; a novel, Sholem Asch (1880-1957), Isaac Goldberg (1887-1938), translator, 1920

“On a Sunday at Coney Island,” Gordon MacRae and the Cheerleaders; Carmen Dragon; Vernon Cross; Jeffrey Curtis, 1951

Celebrating the solstice with a trip to Coney Island in June… (And an early reference to “a naked city…”) “…Everything was permissible; the whole world intermingled.” Weegee, the war-time photographer, filled a centerfold with pictures and words of the “escapist crowd,” made on a Sunday at Coney Island… (Like a Stonehenge for midsummer sweltering city-dwellers…) The spread is a sequel of sorts to the previous years’ successful Coney centerfold: “Yesterday at Coney Island… Temperature 89… They Came Early, Stayed Late.” And a sprinkling of songs released in June 1941; possibly heard on the portable radios playing swing…

“She’s Love Crazy”, Tampa Red, Hudson Whittaker, June 1941

Coney Island Revisited… Pictures and Words by Weegee

I was one of 800,000 people – cops’ estimate – at Coney Island yesterday afternoon. It as an escapist crowd. Portable radios played swing instead of war news. Some planes flew over, but nobody paid much attention.

Most of the people arrived with bathing suits under their street clothes and undressed on the beach. A lot brought their lunches, too, and spread newspapers on sand to eat. It was 87 degrees when I took this picture.

First aid for ripped slacks. I don’t know how Mama happened to bring along her needle and thread, but I didn’t pose the picture. You don’t have to that to get amusing pictures at Coney. I go out every summer to photograph the crowds. They’re always the same – and always different. One difference from 1940 and yesterday was the number of soldiers in uniform on boardwalk looking over the gals on sand below.

Waiting three hours to get a picture of the official first lost child of the season when a man came over to the Park Department attendant with this and and, “Lost child.” Pretty soon his wild-eyed mother came up and took him away. The child was making such a rumpus, and the mother seemed so excited about it all, that I didn’t want to bother them to ask their names and address. PM Photos by Weegee

PM, June 9, 1941, pp. 16-17

“Sixth Avenue Express”, Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons, June 1941

“Rock Me Mama,” Art Tatum And His Band, Joe Turner, Jones, June 1941

“Lonesome Graveyard”, Art Tatum and His Band, Joe Turner, Jones, Williams, June 1941

Weegee, Naked City, 1945

PM, May 31, 1942, pp.8-9 (photo by Weegee)

Weegee, free-lance news photographer who drives around New York in search of pictures, got so many dirty looks during the first two weeks of gas rationing that he had a sign painter letter this card for the rack that used to hold his front license plate. Like one out of every 10 motorists in the East, Weegee has an X card.
PM, May 31, 1942, p.8

Extra! Weegee!, p. 19

Shrinking Violet Explains

New York – The envious looks of gasless former “Sunday Drivers” pierced the tender epidermis of “Weegee” noted New York freelance photographer as he toured the city while on the job today. To get rid of that uncomfortable feeling, “Weegee” mounted this explanation of gasoline expenditure on the front of his machine and immediately felt much better.
Credit Line (ACME) 5-24-42

Extra! Weegee!, p. 19


We’re the Sunday Drivers, Billy Murray’s Trio (Carl Mathieu, Monroe Silver and Murray), 1927

Weegee's book Naked City with a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge
Weegee, Naked City, 1945

Apparently the Brooklyn Bridge opened on this day, May 24th, in 1883… More importantly… Naked City opens with a noirish, scene-setting, landscape foto starring the Brooklyn Bridge and a bunch of buildings, lights, wet cobblestones, a star-free sky… Not a bad way to enter Manhattan and a perfect way to enter a book… big bridge… flash of lightning… a beginning… (One of the few people-free fotos in NC.)

Photo was published in the Daily News on Monday, July 29, 1940… On the same page as a map of Malta and a pair of photos: “Death From The Sky. This is the first foto of the bombing of Malta by Italian planes…” And “Prisoners Of War,” a long line of captured English soldiers marching… (A majority of the photos in Naked City can be connected to the war, in fact, Naked City is a portrait of Manhattan during wartime, the homefront.) Foto was published with a few different titles in different editions, including:

Striking Beauty
This remarkable foto shows a brilliant bolt of lightning apparently striking City Bank Farmer’s Trust Co. at 20 Exchange Place, during storm. The fotog shot foto on South St., near Brooklyn Bridge.
New York Daily News, July 29, 1940

Newspaper PM, article about Murder Inc. member or associate
PM, May 23, 1941, p. 9

“Up From the Slums, or How Young Knadles Nitzberg Made His Nark” by John Kobler

PM newspaper, Weegee photo of kids on fire escape
PM, May 23, 1941, p. 23

Record of a New York Day

“The hot weather last night took Weegee, the photographer, to the Lower East Side, where he found these children sleeping on a tenement fire escape at Irving and Rivington Streets. Weegee says he gave the kids $2 for ice cream, but their father took charge of the dough.”

Weegee's book Naked City
Weegee, Naked City, pp. 22-23

Tenement Penthouse

But the other fire escape is somewhat overcrowded… its not so bad sleeping that way… except when it starts to rain… then it’s back to the stuffy tenement rooms.”

[$2 had the same buying power as $38.15 in April 2021.]

Tenement Symphony,” Larry Clinton’s Bluebird Orch.; Kuller; Golden; Borne; Peggy Mann and Butch Stone, 1941

PM, May 23, 1941, p. 13 (photo by Gene Badger)

A Hot-Weather Fashion Preview by the Dead End Kids
Scene: East River. Time 3 p.m. Temperature: 90.7.