Old men, a folded chessboard, and Central Park

Time stands still in this May 1946 photo, which captures two “old timers,” as the caption states, immersed in a game of chess while surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of Central Park.

Perhaps they were among the former residents of Central Park’s Depression-era Hooverville, a pop-up city of shacks and forgotten men?

chesscentralpark

It’s part of the digitized American Cities collection at the National Archives, which deserves a long thumbing through.

Chess wasn’t the only game older men played in New York City parks. Bocce courts ruled parks in Italian-American neighborhoods, with groups of often Italian Americans crowding green spaces in Lower Manhattan.

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2 Responses to “Old men, a folded chessboard, and Central Park”

  1. ksbeth Says:

    i love this photo

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Me too. Wonder what their story is.

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