A surrealistic morning commute in the 1952 city

Yellow taxis fly by a red bus, and pedestrians in coats as gray as the pavement seem frozen on the sidelines. This is a New York intersection in 1952, and it’s the vision of Ernst Haas, a groundbreaking photographer who blended photojournalism with art.

“His style became known for marrying photojournalism with artistic expression and his work elevated color photography from tourist snapshots into the realm of high art,” wrote Curious.com.

It’s one moment in time in a very different New York. See more of Haas’ stunning photos of the midcentury city here.

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8 Responses to “A surrealistic morning commute in the 1952 city”

  1. ForceTubeAvenue Says:

    Lovely photo. The prominent Mack bus brings back memories. As a child, our family would go to Staten Island for a “Sunday drive”, which meant the Staten Island ferry, then a bus, almost always a Mack, to the end of its route, and return. This was before the opening of the Verrazano Bridge.

  2. Rob Says:

    2 out of the 3 men are wearing hats. I read somewhere that hats for men went out of style as the auto life took over,

  3. countrypaul Says:

    Back in the waning days when New York was “still New York,” that increasingly mythological 1920s-to-postwar era. (Of course, it’s still New York, but different now.)

  4. Bill Wolfe Says:

    I’ve always heard that the demise of the custom of American men wearing hats began when President Kennedy chose not to wear one while making his Inaugural Address.

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I always heard the President Kennedy thing as well, but in sounds reasonable to believe that car culture also helped make hats obsolete…for men and women.

    • ironrailsironweights Says:

      There is no doubt that the Kennedy story is urban legend. For one thing, he actually wore the traditional top hat for much of the inauguration ceremony, removing it during his speech because it was too windy out for the hat to stay on. More to the point is that sales of men’s hats had peaked in 1937 and by the time of the inauguration had declined for 24 straight years. With the exception of the wartime period, during that stretch more and more people bought cars and drove.
      Another factor behind the decline in men’s hat wearing started up soon after JFK’s inauguration, though here there might be a chicken-and-egg issue. As men began moving away from simple haircuts toward actual styling, they became less and less interested in wearing hats. There’s even a Charles Mason connection here: far more than anyone else, Jay Sebring, one of the victims in the Sharon Tate murders, had popularized men’s hairstyling.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Very interesting…I didn’t think of the haircut angle. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

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