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Great Depression

From Museum of the City of New York blog: Summer in the City

Now that summer is in full swing, we look back at the ways New Yorkers have either escaped or embraced the heat.

The Drive in Central Park was a place to see and be seen, particularly for the wealthiest New Yorkers, who dressed in their finest attire and rode carriages through the park.

Byron Company. Central Park: The Drive, Summer. 1894. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17778

At the turn of the century, long black stockings typically accompanied women’s bathing suits (or bathing gowns, as they were called). Bathing suits became less restrictive a few years later, when women began participating in competitive swimming.

Byron Company. Sports, Bathing, Midland Beach. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17470

Before air conditioning, it was not uncommon for tenement dwellers to put their mattresses on the roof and sleep through the season’s hottest nights.

John Sloan. Roofs, Summer Night. 1906. Museum of the City of New York. 82.200.1

The Jackie Robinson Pool originally opened as the Colonial Park Pool in Harlem on August 8, 1936. It was one of 11 swimming pools opened throughout the city that year and funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal agency created to combat the Great Depression.

Sid Grossman. Federal Art Project. Colonial Park Swimming Pool, Harlem. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.9.58

Some New Yorkers preferred water hoses to swimming pools.

United States. Office of War Information. Children spraying a hose from a porch. 1944. Museum of the City of New York. 90.28.88

Every summer, Coney Island’s boardwalk bustles with city dwellers seeking a respite from the heat.

Andrew Herman. Federal Art Project. Feeding Ice-Cream to the Dog. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.5.34

Nathan’s Famous opened in Coney Island at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in 1916, where it still stands today and attracts scores of New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Andrew Herman. Federal Art Project. Nathan’s Hot Dog Stand, Coney Island. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.5.13

Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park began hosting an annual poolside beauty contest called Modern Venus in 1913. Beauty contests flourished as bathing suits became skimpier.

Reginald Marsh. Modern Venus Contest at Steeplechase Park. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 90.36.2.2.2F

After World War II, folk singers began congregating in Washington Square. The singers and their audience clashed with some residents of the neighborhood, who thought they were a nuisance. In 1947, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation started issuing permits for public performances in city parks. In 1961, Parks Commissioner Newbold Morris rejected folk singers’ applications to play in Washington Square. Protests ensued, culminating in a fight between the musicians and their supporters and the police seeking to clear the crowds. In the end, a compromise was reached, with folk singers being allowed in the park on Sunday afternoons.

Frederick Kelly. Musicians – Washington Square. 1962.

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From Gothamist: Photos: Revisit The 1929 Wall Street Crash, Which Began 86 Years Ago on 10/24

“On this day, investors traded a record 12,894,650 shares, following a precipitous market decline that kicked off in September. Panic seized Wall Street traders, with photographers capturing crowds gathering outside the New York Stock Exchange and the Sub-Treasury Building, which is now the Federal Hall National Memorial.

Though the stock exchange rallied a bit on Friday, it began crashing again on Monday, eventually leading to Black Tuesday’s total collapse. That collapse truly kicked off the Great Depression—stock market prices didn’t climb back up to pre-crash numbers until 1954. “

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“44 Amazing NYC Places That Actually Still Exist” (Buzzfeed).

Most are bars and restaurants.

A lot of classic New York City spots might be disappearing, but you can still go to these distinctive shops, bars, and restaurants. For now, anyway.

1. Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St. (East Village)

Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St. (East Village)

Jeffrey Bary / Via Flickr: 70118259@N00

Russ & Daughters, a family-operated “appetizing store” focused on selling traditional Jewish fish and dairy products, has been a fixture of the Lower East Side since 1914. It’s one of the only existing stores in the entire country dedicated to appetizing.

2. Eddie’s Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Eddie's Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Joe Shlabotnik / Via Flickr: joeshlabotnik

Eddie’s Sweet Shop is an old school ice cream parlor and soda fountain that has served the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, for over a century. It’s not too hard to find ice cream shops that aspire to capturing the vibe of an old-timey soda fountain, but this is the real deal.

3. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Postdlf / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Strand may be the single most beloved and iconic used book store in the entire city, and has been a destination for bibliophiles around the world for nearly a century. The store contains a staggering amount of books and truly lives up to its hype.

4. Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

apasciuto / Via Flickr: apasciuto

Di Fara has been around since the mid-’60s but made the shift from local treasure to a destination spot for world class pizza sometime in the past decade or so. The pizza is so good that people are willing to travel from all over the city and wait for up to three hours to get a pie handcrafted by restaurant founder and pizza auteur Dom DeMarco.

5. Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Daniel Lobo / Via Flickr: daquellamanera

Greenwich Village was once a major destination for record collectors, but this large punk and metal-centric shop is one of the few stores that’s managed to stay open over the years.

6. St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Mark’s Place (East Village)

St. Mark's Comics, 11 St. Mark's Place (East Village)

St. Mark’s Place has been heavily gentrified over the past 20 years, but this stalwart comics shop has stuck around despite so many seedy punk and counterculture shops getting replaced with chains like Chipotle and Supercuts. (And yes, this is the comic book store from that one episode of Sex and the City.)

7. Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Scott Beale / Via Flickr: laughingsquid

Caffe Reggio has a crucial role in the development of coffee culture in the United States — it was the first establishment to sell cappuccino in America back in the 1920s. The cafe still has its original espresso machine, which dates back to 1902, and was purchased by founder Domenico Parisi when he opened the place in 1927.

8. Old Town Bar on 45 East 18th St.

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From delanceyplace.com:

In today’s selection — from Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.

During the Roaring 20s and into the Great Depression, the hottest club in New York was the Cotton Club, an establishment owned by one of New York’s most notorious gangsters. Though it featured black performers and was located in the middle of Harlem, New York’s preeminent black neighborhood, black patrons were almost never allowed and the decor was made to evoke a Southern slave plantation.

“In 1927 Harlem was a playground for white people who could afford to pay for liquor and sex — and who liked having sex with black people, so long as they didn’t have to talk to them afterward. Of the uptown nightclubs that catered to white patrons, the Cotton Club, which billed itself as ‘the Aristocrat of Harlem’ in its newspaper ads, was the best known and most expensive, as well as the one with the dirtiest pedigree. Owney Madden, the owner, was an Englishman of Irish parentage whose family had emigrated to New York’s Hell’s Kitchen when he was eleven years old. He was slight of stature and spoke in a high-pitched voice that sounded, Sonny Greer said, ‘like a girl.’ But appearances were deceiving, for Madden was a vicious street fighter who in his youth had racked up a long list of cold-blooded killings. He now ran one of New York’s most successful bootlegging gangs, investing his profits in Broadway shows like Mae West’s Sex (and, it was whispered, having a backstage affair with West herself). In 1920, while he was serving an eight-year term in Sing Sing for manslaughter, he acquired a failed Harlem supper club called the Cafe de Luxe that had been ‘owned’ by Jack Johnson, the famous black boxer, who served as the front man for yet another mobster. After Madden was paroled in 1923, he turned it into a cabaret with a stiff cover charge whose scantily dressed dancers and sexually suggestive stage shows became the talk of Manhattan.

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“Located on Lenox Avenue at West 142nd Street, the Cotton Club was a second-story walk-up that held between six and seven hundred people who sat in two tiers of tables surrounding the dance floor. The walls were covered with what Irving Mills, who was prone to malapropisms, called ‘muriels.’ The rest of the decor, as Cab Calloway recalled, was suggestive in a less innocent way:

The bandstand was a replica of a southern mansion, with large white columns and a backdrop painted with weeping willows and slave quarters. The band played on the veranda of the mansion …. The waiters were dressed in red tuxedos, like butlers in a southern mansion, and the tables were covered with red-and-white-checked gingham tablecloths …. I suppose the idea was to make whites who came to the club feel like they were being catered to and entertained by black slaves.

“Spike Hughes, who visited the club a few years later, described it as ‘expensive and exclusive; it cost you the earth merely to look at the girl who took your hat and coat as you went in.’ He was stretching it, but not by much.…

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