Tag Archives: 1940

PM, June 18, 1940, p. 12 (photos by Alan Fisher and D. Richard Statile)

75 Years Ago today… not only did a great newspaper start publishing, but a section of the East River Drive, from 49th to 92 Sts., opened… At a cost of $10,700,00… “At 10:30 a.m. there was a happy shindig: a boat ride of notables… then lunch and speeches by Mayor La Guardia and others.”

PM, June 18, 1940

75 Years Ago Today… a great newspaper – “We sell no advertising” – started publishing…



(From the original Prospectus of PM)

We are against people who push other people around, whether they flourish in this country or abroad.
We are against fraud and deceit and greed, and cruelty and we will seek to expose their practitioners.
We are for people who are kindly and courageous and honest.
We respect intelligence, sound accomplishment, open-mindedness, religious tolerance.
We do not believe all mankind’s problems are now being solved successfully by any existing social order, certainly not our own, and we propose to crusade for those who seek constructively to improve the way people live together.
We are Americans and we prefer democracy to any other principle of government.”



New York Daily News, February 15, 1940, p. 27

SNOW made this gal bring out her umbrella but the howling, raging storm turned it inside out.”

MAIL must get through, so these mailmen buck storm on routes. Surprise to readers: This time we won’t quote inscription on main Post Office which begins: “Neither snow, nor rain…”

ORPHAN OF THE STORM This skimmer skimmed away from some one trying to maneuver across City Hall Park. Somebody else hung it on guard rail. Gotham was whacked by 50 m.p.h. gale, and remarkably heavy snow-fall. It was a regular ‘nor-easter.'”

One, two, or three of these fotos may have been made by Fellig… The credit is (All NEWS fotos)…

New York Daily News, February 14, 1940

Body of a man… lies on pavement at Bowery and Second St. He was struck by a taxicab and thrown under the wheels of a Third Ave. trolley.”

…driver of cab which hurled man under trolley… the victim stepped from behind an El pillar into the path of his machine.”

climb fire escape to get at smoky fire at 206 Canal St. In 1914, 15 persons perished in blaze at the same spot. Two firemen were hurt yesterday.”

One or two or three of these photos, credited to NEWS photo, may have been made by Weegee…

PM, December 26, 1940
Weegee Covers Christmas in New York… In Pictures and Words…

By Weegee
Early Christmas Eve I received a phone call [a funny thing to receive from a person who consistently wrote that he had no phone: “In my room, I would have the mail and telegrams slipped under my door. I had no phone; I’m allergic to them…” Weegee by Weegee, 1961, pp. 64-65] 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. [Slightly different environment than: “The upshot was that I had a roving assignment from PM for the next four-and-a-half years. I picked my own stories. When I found a good one, I brought t in. All they had to do was mail me my weekly check for seventy-five dollars… which they did.” Weegee by Weegee, 1961, p. 86]
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 alll 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. [see below]
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, [according to the Internet, there is no St. John’s Episcopal Church at 102nd St. and Lexington Ave. There is one in the Village, 224 Waverly Place…] 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…

Coincidentally The New Yorker also stopped by the All Night Mission in 1940: ABSTRACT: Talk story about census enumeration of the derelicts in the Bowery. Since none of the homeless men know in the morning whether his address will be a flophouse, an allnight mission, or a doorway, the enumerators waited until evening to cover the Bowery. In each of the hotels – the Sunshine, Uncle Sam House, the Plaza, and the rest – were two enumerators, who got the statistics on each guest before he was allowed to register & go to his bed. At the All-Night Mission, 8 Bowery, we found 80-odd men quietly starting to spend the night sitting up. A single enumerator was taking down the information an old man was giving him. He had been born in N. Y. C. 67 years ago. No wife, no, children? no. He wasn’t looking for work. He was on relief. Home? Well, the mission…

Weegee’s Christmas day journey, on a Google Map, might look like this.

A classic New York City Christmas story… published 28 years to the day, before the end…

PM Daily, December 26, 1940.
First Aid fails to revive Paul Ryan, killed by a gas explosion in his apartment at 865 First Ave. Police said it was apparently suicide. The Christmas night blast shock the 17-story building and injured two house employes. PM photo by Weegee.

Weegee Daily, December 26, 2012
Boring photos fail to revive pedestrian… One of the eight million stories in the Naked City… And this 17-story building remains surprisingly intact, near the UN… WD photos by Ceegee.

Weegee, PM, November 24, 1940

2 Die in Wrecked Car
Dr. Albion O. Bernstein, 28, interne, and Miss. Helen Ayers, nurse at Beth Israel Hospital, were drowned early yesterday when his car plunged over the string piece and into the East River at Pier 60, East 21st St. Picture shows emergency squad men lifting Miss Ayers from the car. Photo by Weegee

Ceegee, Weegee Daily, November 24, 2012 – approximate location…

0 Die in Wrecked Car…Picture shows the remnants of what was perhaps, Pier 60, East 21st St. and the East River… Photo by Ceegee

Footnote, or, after a few minutes of Googling:
“The Bernstein Award
This national award, endowed by the late Morris J. Bernstein in memory of his son, a physician who died in an accident while answering a hospital call in 1940, is given to a physician or scientist who has made a significant contribution in medicine, surgery, or disease prevention during the previous calendar year.
The award consists of a check for $2000.00 and a citation. Information on the MSSNY Continuing Medical Education Program can be obtained here…”

(from the Internet… Albion O. Bernstein memorial Volume, 1943)

Ceegee, Weegee Daily, November 24, 2012 – approximate location…

PM, September 29, 1940, pp50-51
“Artists Mourn a Fascinating Model: Manhattan Els”
by Elizabeth Sacartoff
“Early in October, they expect to start junking the 72-year-old Ninth Ave. El. Later in the month, the Board of Transportation hopes to get rid of the 60-year-old Second Ave. El between 59th and 129th Sts. With the Sixth Ave. El already gone and the fate of the Third Ave. line practically sealed, Manhattan’s homeliest landmarks soon will have vanished…”

(Els didn’t figure prominently in Weegee’s photos. Perhaps there are only a few Weegee photos with or about elevated subways: Joy of Living, cake box murder (perhaps), street car crash on the Bowery, and the shadow of the El (in Naked City), also on the Bowery, all under an El…)

PM, September 29, 1940, pp.52-53
“Eisenstein Film, Lost 8 Years Comes to N.Y.”
Time in the Sun…” [Or, ¡Qué viva México!]




PM, August 28, 1940
Photos by Margaret Bourke-White

“Free Phone Calls: 10,657,406 Have Eavesdropped”
“In the glass booths at left and right are two of the 48,000 persons who have made free long-distance calls from the Bell Telephone exhibit. Lights on the wall map trace call: New York to Los Angeles. And 250 persons down front are listening in on every word. Visitors draw for lucky numbers. Winners may talk three minutes to any place in the U.S.A. Twenty of each days call’s 160 calls, on the average, go to California.”