Posts Tagged ‘street kids New York’

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.

Skinny dipping off a broken East River pier

June 28, 2013

George Bellows always seems to have such empathy for his subjects, especially poor street kids—like the ones in his 1907 painting 42 Kids.


In a review of a recent Bellows show in London, a reviewer from The Guardian wrote this:

“[In 42 Kids] Bellows swiftly tallies the figures—’kids’ not ‘lads’ or even ‘boys’—suggesting their closeness to a litter of cubs or pups—who use a derelict pier as the diving board from which they hurl themselves into one of Manhattan’s turbid rivers.”