Posts Tagged ‘George Bain photos’

New York kids, toy windows, and holiday dreams

December 24, 2016

Is there anything more wonderful for a kid than a holiday toy store window display? These kids—their eyes transfixed on dolls and blocks and drums and animal figurines—answer the question.


Holiday-themed store windows apparently got their start in New York, of course. Macy’s pioneered them way back in 1874 when the store was located on 14th Street, and toys were among the merchandise on display.


These photos were all taken around the city between 1910 and 1915 by George Bain. The names of the stores or addresses aren’t listed, unfortunately.


But this last one below must be a big retailer. Look at all the adults crowded around, getting a close look!


[Photos: Bain Collection/LOC]

A bold bull makes a run for it in 1913 Manhattan

October 4, 2014

On the rare occasion when an animal breaks loose on the way to the slaughterhouse in today’s city, his plucky escape ends up scoring him a forever home at a farm sanctuary.


A century ago, the story ended in a hail of bullets. That’s what happened to this bold bull, one of 200 brought to the city on a November day in 1913. The bulls were temporarily held at the New York Stock Company on West 60th Street and the Hudson River before they were to be sent to the abattoir.

BullcentralparkheadlinenytBut thanks to a gate left ajar, 26 of the bulls managed to break free. Eight left the stockyard. One got as far as Central Park West and 80th Street, where he collided with a delivery wagon.

The bull in the photo had another idea.

“One lumbering steer seeking to escape pursuit turned into Fifth Avenue and 59th Street and, dodging bullets which were fired at it by pursuing policemen, caused such uproar that Fifth Avenue thought that either a gangsters’ battle was in progress or a Wild West show had lost its bearings,” wrote The New York Times the next day.

After the bull detoured to Madison Avenue, a patrolman fired a shot that accidentally killed a construction-site watchman. A hotel waiter was also shot in the crossfire.

Finally the bull charged down 50th Street. Bleeding from previous shots, he died in front of the mansion that today is home to the New York Palace hotel.

[Photo: Bain Collection]

Four ways New Yorkers kept cool in summer

July 11, 2013

Licking blocks of ice. Taking a daytime nap under a tree in the park. Diving into a public water fountain with your pals.

These are just a few of the ways scorched city residents without money or means cooled off when temperatures soared, as documented by photojournalist George Bain more than 100 years ago.


Bain took lots of pictures around the city those days, chronicling other ways New York’s masses handled heat waves—things we don’t resort to anymore, thanks mostly to air conditioning.

Like buying some scraped ice, as these street boys (and some grown men) are doing. How much could a shaving of ice go for back then?


If ice didn’t quench your thirst, you could head to the milk house, a city-sponsored place to get cold, fresh milk rather than the swill milk often sold. This one is at Tompkins Square Park.


Moms with babies could sit on a bench in a local park and stay as still as possible. If that carriage is metal, it must be hot!


Once the kids got a little older, you could ditch them on a shaded corner of the sidewalk, put a towel down, and let them sweat it out—like these city girls are learning to do.