Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Photo Minute: New York City (1941-1942) in brilliant and original colour
photographs reveal 1940s life in the Big Apple in all its glory
• Photos by Indiana snapper Charles Weever Cushman in 1941 and 1942
• Expensive colour Kodachrome was used to take impressive collection
• Many buildings have since been demolished but some of them still stand
It’s been 70 years since an Indiana photographer visited New York City and returned home with an amazing collection of holiday snaps.
But Charles Weever Cushman’s pictures are even more impressive today, as they were taken on pricey colour Kodachrome and look far more recent than they actually are.
He went around the city taking photos of architecture such as the Brooklyn Bridge and other parts of the Manhattan skyline - and it’s hard to believe they were taken while World War Two was going on.
Land and water: The Liberty Street ferry in New York City on September 27, 1941
Horse and cart: Men and boys are seen collecting salvage on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1941
Daily life: This street seen from October 3, 1942, is just one from a huge collection by Charles W. Cushman
Pub: McSorley's Old Ale House, still open today, is pictured on East 7th Street on October 7, 1942
Compared: McSorley's Old Ale House in the East Village today, hardly changed from the above photo
But what is even more intriguing are the street scenes and daily life Cushman documented in his photos, showing 1940s New Yorkers going about their daily business.
Pictures of children smiling for the camera, businessmen sitting down outside and street traders are a fascinating insight to what life was like in the city all those years ago.
Many of the areas have been demolished or rebuilt since they were pictured in 1941 and 1942.
But others such as McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan’s East Village look almost identical now as they did back then, with the same store front and shop logo.
Park life: A suited man walks through Bowling Green in lower Manhattan on October 1, 1942
Smoking: Three homeless people from South Ferry doss houses are in Battery Park on June 6, 1941
Crossing: The East River is pictured below Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, on June 6, 1941
Around town: A portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green on October 1, 1942, left, and a Lower East Side street scene on September 27, 1941, right
The images are even more significant at a time when Americans are remembering the fallen World Trade Center, showing that a city ultimately transcends its buildings, reported The Atlantic.
Mr Cushman was born in Poseyville, Indiana, in 1896 and read English at Indiana University, where he was sports editor on the student newspaper.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Illinois in 1918 before leaving three years later and began working in New York City in 1928. He moved back to Chicago in 1929 and died in 1972.
His second wife, Elizabeth Penniman, said: ‘He loved life - music, good books, sports, the outdoors, travel, integrity - and could not tolerate ignorance.’
Hosepipe: Looking up Fulton Street from South Street in downtown Manhattan on September 27, 1941
Business as usual; A street in Chinatown, left, and another in lower Manhattan, right, both pictured in October 3, 1942
Downtown life: A man looks out from Battery Park on June 6, 1941, while a horse and carriage can be seen at the lower end of Broadway on October 1, 1942
Boat trip: The Statue of Liberty is seen across the water from downtown Manhattan on June 6, 1941
Looking up: A tower of Brooklyn Bridge is seen from South Street in Manhattan on September 27, 1941
Say cheese: Residents of lower Clinton St near the East River on a Saturday afternoon in September 1941
Shops: Near the corner of Broome Street and Baruch Place in the Lower East Side on September 27, 1941
New Yorkers: These two, left, live in a big new housing project near the East River and are pictured on October 4, 1942 - while a woman, right, sits in front of a doorway in the Lower East Side in the same month
Chinatown: Chinese store windows are pictured in New York as men walk past on October 7, 1942
Traders: Hot sweet potatoes, left, on October 4, 1942, and Wall Street, right, is pictured on June 6, 1941
City buzz: A crowd gathers during a salvage collection on the Lower East Side on October 4, 1942