Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square Park fountain’

Sipping cool water from a city fountain in 1900

July 27, 2015

Drinking fountains began showing up in New York City parks in the 1880s, often paid for by wealthy private citizens and supported by temperance groups, reports this Huffington Post article.


Providing cool refreshing water to passersby and park-goers was a wonderful idea. But yikes, look at the communal cups everyone had to drink out of!

This photo dates to about 1900, right about when people were realizing that sharing cups was a good way to spread germs. Pretty soon, the cups were replaced by bubbling, cup-free fountains.

Three ways New York used to cool off in summer

July 23, 2011

The city is no stranger to scorching temperatures; there’s the heat wave of 1911, the heat wave of 1899, and the heat wave of 1938, among others.

Imagine how oppressive it must have been a century ago, with no AC, no cool drinks from the fridge, and no skimpy summer attire.

But New Yorkers found ways to deal. One strategy: licking huge blocks of ice on a street corner with your pals, as these boys are doing in a July 1912 photo from the Bain News Service.

You could also find a shady spot in a park and just lie there in your jacket and shirtsleeves. This Bain News Service photo depicts men doing just that in Battery Park (no date).

And if you don’t have access to a swimming pool, why not jump in a fountain? Some boys attracted a crowd in Madison Square Park with that move in another Bain News Service shot (circa 1910-1915).