These city boys tried to rent out their snow fort

Sometime around 1940, after a storm blanketed city streets in the kind of snow that makes for good packing, a group of cheeky boys came up with a brilliant way to capitalize on New York’s always-tight housing market.

8x11mm_X2010_7_1 261

8x11mm_X2010_7_1 261

How much do you think they could have made off that super cool snow fort? I guess it depends on the neighborhood, which isn’t noted in the photo caption, unfortunately, and if they put a loft inside.

[Photo by Wurts Brothers from the digital collection of the Museum of the City of New York: x2010.7.1.16299]

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7 Responses to “These city boys tried to rent out their snow fort”

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    Having so enjoyed your photos and research from a recent submission, I must pass along this note.

    Perhaps you were inspecting too closely the ‘frosty, seasonal construction’ of the youths — however, you overlooked a ‘HOLDOUT’ building in the block behind the Snow Fort! Those lil’ mini-structures seem to pop-up everywher in New York City!

    • robert dowling Says:

      regards. audrey. sorry but thid is bugging me, what is meant by a holdout bldg. life long city resident but that seems tobe a new one on me. thanks. bob. ps holdout to me means 1950s urban renewal stuff.

  2. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    Mister Robert —

    We ain’t got none o dese ‘HOLDOUTS’ whar I live – but in dis las write’n in EPHEMERAL, day called des iddy biddy, old structures ‘HOLDOUTS.’ Dis is cause day cudda been bought ta make way fer bigger buildings dat surround ’em. It’s kinda like that movie ‘UP!’ — de owner ain’t gonna: sell-out / give-up / is stay’n put.

    (A ‘HOLDOUT’ in our neck ‘o da woods means: a ‘robbery in da country!’)

  3. Andrew Porter Says:

    I wonder if the “Holdout” sign might be a refusal to join the recently established NYC Rent Control laws. Numerous landlords refused to rent out their holdings and kept them empty, rather than comply with the new law.

    From Wikipedia: “New York’s current rent control program, which began in 1943, is the longest-running in the United States.”

    • Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

      I am so sorry , Esther — I commented on the building BEHIND this Ephemeral presentation instead of writing about the Snow Fort.
      Now, everyone thinks there is a ‘HOLDOUT sign’ or they do not understand what ‘HOLDOUT’ means! Yikes — I’ve created a growing misunderstanding monster!

      (1) Forget about anything dealing with “HOLDOUT.” That is from a previous Ephemeral writing.
      (2) There is no “HOLDOUT” sign!
      (3) It is a gang of neighborhood boys having fun, who have built a snow structure and are offering it “FOR RENT.”
      (4) This is all…I’m going back to bed — might crawl UNDER the bed.

  4. Aaron Rein Says:

    First time commenting. Looks to me like the Port Authority building (now Google) at 16th and 8th is in the back. The said building struck me first then I compared the “holdout” building on the south-east corner of 16th and 8th. It appears most of these buildings are still extant if my observations are correct.

  5. Mike Valentin Says:

    I had a similar experience on the West Side in 1959 (along Riverside Drive). What a great passage of city childhood. Our loft collapsed under the ant-like weight of so many “Kings if the Hill.”

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