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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:

A Look At 1980s NYC Through The Lens Of A Teenager

Through the magical and bittersweet filter of nostalgia, it’s possible to look back at photos of 1980s New York City—a decade that followed one of the toughest in the city’s history—and think: ah, the good ol’ days. Recent transplants will say it, speaking some pseudo-knowledge and pointing to the dearth of combination Chase Bank-Duane Reades on the streets back then. But those who lived it know exactly what they miss.

Native Ken Stein has just shared some of his old photos from the decade with us, taken from 1980 through 1989. Stein was a teenager when he took most of these, and tells us, “The city was different back then. I think it was quieter, the street lights were darker, there was more room to walk and more places to wander—often everything seemed new and the different areas of the city were just that; different.”

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1983. (Photo by Ken Stein)

Stein continued:

Most of those images were shot in 1982 and 83. I was 17 and 18 year old and was the staff photographer for a weekly community newspaper in The Bronx.These images are part of a larger collection that were shot on slide film—a rare luxury for me because it was far more expensive than the black & white I could get and develop for free. Hugh Bell, the famous jazz era and commercial photographer who died after Sandy knocked out the electricity in lower Manhattan, was a huge influence on me.

Taking pictures was always thrilling and I loved the way it made me feel. It felt at times I was the only one taking pictures—I think that’s why people let me take their photos. It was a rare occurrence and I was bold as fuck back then.

Click through for a look, and you can check out a few more on his Flickr page.

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