Two in the morning in 1932

Three women in cloche hats and clingy dresses cross a desolate Greenwich Village street in Martin Lewis’ “2 a.m.”

Did sanitation workers really used to hose down the streets at night? 

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8 Responses to “Two in the morning in 1932”

  1. petey Says:

    the teenager in me sees a joke there …

  2. Johannah Says:

    Wikipedia says about the artist: “In 1925, he returned to etching and produced most of his well-known works between 1925 and 1935, including series on Japan and New York. A first solo exhibition in 1929 was successful enough for him to give up commercial work and concentrate entirely on printmaking. With the onset of the Depression however, he was forced to leave the city for four years between 1932 and 1936. When he was finally able to return to the city in 1936, there was no longer a market interested in his work. He died largely forgotten.”

  3. Alex Says:

    I of course am not old enough to remember the manual hosing down of the streets, but I do recall large tank trucks going down each block to spray the gutters water and chlorine after the sanitation sweepers went by. I guess this was to sanitize the streets. I’m glad the city eventually realized chlorine is bad for our surrounding rivers and ended the practice.

    The artwork by Martin Lewis is remarkable. Such a shame to hear he died in obscurity.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I agree, thanks for all the info on Lewis. It’s time for an exhibit on his work.

  5. Sharon Florin Says:

    Martin Lewis is well-known among those interested in New York-themed prints and many of his works can be seen at the Old Print Shop on Lexington Avenue. I love his work and his prints command high prices these days!

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    Oh, thanks for the tip. I love that little print shop.

  7. M Hunt Says:

    Actually, the butchers in the Meat Market had an arrangement with the fire department who would hose down the streets, not the sanitation department.

  8. A printmaker’s New York in shadows and light | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] often featured kids playing and young women dressed for a night on the town. He didn’t always indicate the exact setting of his street scenes, but he […]

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